Three thousand years ago, when the leader of one tribal group chose to visit a second tribal leader, he brought with him many gifts. Among those gifts, he invariably included some large and shiny pieces of jewelry.
That jewelry was undoubtedly made out of gold. It might have included bracelets, rings, chains and even a lovely, gold jewel case. That long-accepted gift, the gift of jewelry, has found favor with many generations, and it has become a popular gift in countries all over the world.
Sometimes the gift of jewelry has been presented only to those who were considered worthy recipients. For example, a Girl Scout or Boy Scout pin would be given to a young person who had demonstrated the qualities of a Scout. Similarly, the large ring worn by American military personnel symbolizes the willingness of those men (and women) to sacrifice for the citizens of their homeland.
Tourists often purchase jewelry to give to loved ones back home. Jewelry usually does an excellent job of “speaking” for the region of the world in which it was created. A traveler to Rome might want to purchase a cameo, a popular jewelry piece in Italy. A traveler to Santa Fe, New Mexico might spend a good bit of time looking at that area’s Indian jewelry.
The Native Americans of New Mexico make many colorful bracelets and a large number of necklaces. Some Indian shops also sell earrings. Finding a pin among the many displays of Indian jewelry can be a challenge. One woman who responded to that challenge did find what she wanted. She purchased a lovely turquoise and pink pin at a shop close to the Grand Canyon.
Perhaps a true appreciation for the international appeal of jewelry requires an acquaintance with a world religion. For example, Catholicism is practiced in many different countries, and most Catholics enjoy giving jewelry to friends and family. Jewelry often comes inside the gifts that are given at weddings or at the time of a baptism.
Sometimes an infant wears earrings at the time of a baptism. A fair number of Hispanic women plan for their infant daughters to have their ears pierced. They expect those girls to make a habit of wearing earrings. Interestingly, the Hispanic women are not the only ones who have that hope. Many new mothers in the Middle East make similar plans, regarding the use of pierced earrings by their young daughters.
Still Catholicism and Islam are not the only two world religions that underline the importance of jewelry. Just walk into any Baha’i “bookstore.” There you will find many different pieces of jewelry. All of them—rings, necklaces, pins and bracelets—have on them a Baha’i symbol. All of those pieces of jewelry have become popular gift items.
Recently a young, male Baha’i in Los Angeles wanted to give himself a gold chain from the local Baha’i bookstore. He wanted to acquaint his customers with his family’s strong ties to the Faith. That desire developed after that same young man had visited the home of an elderly man, a man who had known the grandfather of that young adult.