In many cultures, Jewellery is used as a temporary body modifier
Earrings are form of body modifications, as they are accommodated by creating a small hole in the ear. At Padaung in Myanmar place womenís wear large golden rings around their necks. From as early as 5 years old, girls are introduced to their first neck ring. Over the years, more rings are added. In addition to the twenty-plus pounds of rings on her neck, a woman will also wear just as many rings on her calves too. At their extent, some necks modified like this can reach 10-15 inches long.
In some cases, hooks or even objects as large as bike bars being placed into the recipientís skin. Although this procedure is often carried out by tribal or semi-tribal groups, often acting under a trance during religious ceremonies, this practice has seeped into western culture. Most often, these hooks are used in conjunction with pulleys to hoist the recipient into the air. This practice is said to give an erotic feeling to the person and some couples have even performed their marriage ceremony whist being suspended by hooks. Lip plates are worn by the African Mursi and Sara people, as well as some South American peoples.
How Durable is My Gemstone Jewellery?
First of all a note about the hardness and therefore relative durability of gemstones. To measure hardness, the jewellery industry uses the Mohs scale. This gem-trade standard, conceived by Friedrich Mohs in 1812, measures the ability of a gem or mineral to resist abrasion damage.
Diamond at 10 is the hardest whereas talc at 1 is the softest. Popular gemstones like amethyst and citrine register 7 whereas rubies and sapphires register 9. Most of us come off the beach on the first day with the 3 sís all achieved - rings caked in sand, sea-salt and suntan lotion. Nude sunbathing, as far as silver and gold jewellery is concerned, is a must! Remember also that sand will scratch the surface of precious metals.
Gems are silicates which can be very stable, hard minerals. Like gemstones, one of the characteristics of a precious metal is its rarity. A few gems are oxides and only one gem, diamond, is composed of a single element, carbon. Often, new names will be created for ordinary sounding minerals which sound prettier or more valuable, such as Moldavite for the green variety of tektites.
It could not be "precious" if it were common! This means that the metal must be malleable, that it can be bent, hammered, or otherwise shaped. Two other characteristics are also important. There are also many gemstones that are not true minerals, but which are gemstone varieties of recognized minerals.