by Ben McLeod
Observing how a baby reacts to visual stimuli and it is easy to see how jewelry gets the attention of children and adults alike. Beauty, color and shine are universal attractants not limited to humans. Many species of animals and insects all react and respond to visual cues that often utilize elements of color and brilliance.
The effect on primitive man may be safely inferred the effect such objects produce upon infants. When an infant is shown a brilliantly colored object, they reach for it and gaze into the object. Vibrant colors pleasure the optic nerve. This can also be seen in the animal kingdom as well. Some animals especially birds will collect objects to build their nests with. The birds often travel great distances to find some of the objects. They are very meticulous and even though a similar bone may be close to their nest, they may not want it and travel a long distance to get one that looks very similar.
Jewelry designs for children have roots in many ancient cultures. Gifts of jewelry have been presented to honor the birth of child or to recognize other milestones in a childs development. Even today, many cultures adorn children with body jewelry at an early age. Body piercing is common even in western countries. It is not unusual for parents to pierce the ears of a newborn, adorning the child with earring jewelry. Though there is a great of debate surrounding this practice, it reflects customs that go back thousands of years.
Not limited to body jewelry, gifts of precious metals and gemstones for children are well documented throughout history. The Magi are said to have brought the newborn Jesus a gift of gold to honor him. Jewelry that has been in the family for many years is often given to child in hopes of carrying on a generational tradition. Birthstones, precious gems that have a connection to astrology, are common gifts for children. History is replete with stories and lore about the powers of precious gems and amulets. Bead jewelry has always had a strong cultural significance for children.
The moonstone is regarded as blessed or holy and is thought to bring good fortune to the wearer. In some cultures, the stone was thought to make the wearer invisible and is now believed by some in the New Age community to impart a level of spiritual permanence or even immortality to the wearer. It is widely believed that small children and infants are granted certain protections by owning the stone.
Along with the power of associated with gems, amulets and talisman, the sheer beauty of precious metals and gemstones is not lost on older children. In western cultures, jewelry has been thought of as an adornment primarily for females. Bracelets, rings and earrings have been considered must have items for modern girls and young women. The fascination of gold has not been lost on men and young boys.
Men have worn rings, tie tacks, stickpins and other items of jewelry as a display of wealth and influence. The late twentieth century saw a tremendous growth in the market for jewelry designed for boys and young men. In todays modern times, it is not uncommon to see young boys sporting earrings and body piercings. The hip hop culture has had a tremendous influence, creating a completely new language to describe flashy, audacious jewelry.
Even though the bling has become the thing for many kids today, traditional jewelry gifts for young men and boys are still popular. Whether a watch to signify graduation from school or a class ring.