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Jewellery (also spelt jewelry, see spelling differences) is an item of personal adornment, such as a necklace, ring, brooch or bracelet, that is worn by a person. It may be made from gemstones or precious metals, but may be from any other material, and may be appreciated because of geometric or other patterns, or meaningful symbols. Earrings and other body rings are also considered to be jewellery, while body art is not. Also, items affixed to a garment, such as buttons, are not considered to be jewellery, even if they are unusual and highly decorative.
The word jewellery is derived from the word jewel, which was anglicised from the Old French "jouel" circa the 13th century. Further tracing leads back to the Latin word "jocale", meaning plaything. Jewellery is one of the oldest forms of body adornment; recently found 100,000 year-old beads made from Nassarius shells are thought to be the oldest known jewellery.
Jewellery is sometimes seen as wealth storage or functionally as holding a garment or hair together. It has from very early times also been regarded as a form of personal adornment. The first pieces of jewellery were made from natural materials, such as bone, animal teeth, shell, wood and carved stone. More exotic jewellery was probably made for wealthy people or as indications of social status. In some cases people were buried with their jewellery.
Jewellery has been made to adorn nearly every body part, from hairpins to toe rings and many more types of jewellery. While high-quality jewellery is made with gemstones and precious metals, there is also a growing demand for art jewellery where design and creativity is prized above material value. In addition, there is the less costly costume jewellery, made from lower value materials and mass-produced. New variations include wire sculpture (wrap) jewellery, using anything from base metal wire with rock tumbled stone to precious metals and precious gemstones.