Gemstones and similar materials such as amber and coral, precious metals, beads, and shells have been widely used, and enamel has often been important.

In most cultures jewellery can be understood as a status symbol, for its material properties, its patterns, or for meaningful symbols.

websites created by dating gold-35

Beading, or beadwork, is also very popular in many African and indigenous North American cultures.

Silversmiths, goldsmiths, and lapidaries methods include forging, casting, soldering or welding, cutting, carving and "cold-joining" (using adhesives, staples and rivets to assemble parts).

Both are used in Canadian English, though jewelry prevails by a two to one margin.

In French and a few other European languages the equivalent term, joaillerie there, may also cover decorated metalwork in precious metal such as objets d'art and church items, not just objects worn on the person.

American gold jewellery must be of at least 10K purity (41.7% pure gold), (though in the UK the number is 9K (37.5% pure gold) and is typically found up to 18K (75% pure gold).

Higher purity levels are less common with alloys at 22 K (91.6% pure gold), and 24 K (99.9% pure gold) being considered too soft for jewellery use in America and Europe.

Most cultures at some point have had a practice of keeping large amounts of wealth stored in the form of jewellery.

Numerous cultures store wedding dowries in the form of jewellery or make jewellery as a means to store or display coins.

The silver used in jewellery is usually sterling silver, or 92.5% fine silver.

In costume jewellery, stainless steel findings are sometimes used.

Beaded jewellery commonly encompasses necklaces, bracelets, earrings, belts and rings.