The first Jewellery finds date back to as early as 100,000 years ago. In this case Nassarius shells were used and holes drilled in them with a flint tool. They were found in Skhul cave on the slopes of Mount Carmel in Isreal. They were thought to be strung on some kind of cord and worn by the person. These were thought to be the earliest form of jewellery.
It is thought that jewellery was used as a sign of wealth or for showing others they were a member of a certain group. Jewellery was important and had great meaning even thought to ward off evil. It was also used as a way of holding hair up or to tie clothing.
Earlier pieces were made of natural objects, such as stones, shells, wood, bone and feathers. Later precious metals were used as they are today. They skills used to create this precious metal jewellery, by hand, have changed very little over the years and when you begin to make a piece of jewellery yourself, you really appreciate the skills of the people in ancient times.
BBC Science and environment website
All about gemstones website
Wikipedia – History of jewellery