Body decorations as well as jewelry appeared not necessarily out of the need to show some form of artistic manifestation, but rather to express religious respect. How could man actually stand out by looks and attitude in front of the “gods” on a special days? From such a perception to actually using body jewelry, there was only a small step to make; beaded necklaces were definitely among the easiest to manufacture, since round shapes have always been the most common in all societies.
Either plant seeds or small stones were at the base of the very first beaded necklaces; it was only later that gems or semiprecious stones, pearls and choral pieces came to be used as well, though they definitely required a more intense production process. Most beaded necklaces were attributed a ritual function: usually protection against evil spirits or disease. Turquoise stones, polished shells, jade and even bones were used to the matter.
Where are beaded necklaces today? Well, there is no longer a ritual function to be associated with them; however, they have extended their decorative function so much that jewelry manufacturing is considered one of the most profitable businesses nowadays. Produced in mass collections or hand-crafted, beaded necklaces are important apparel accessories for both men and women. Presently, they are sold in the most common jewelry shops or online, and for prices that start at just a few bucks to get to hundreds of dollars.
Though for men, beaded necklaces come in somehow limited variants, they are nevertheless in the popularity tops. Sports and casual wear are usually the type of clothes that men associate with beaded necklaces, and they are usually short and worn close around the neck. Not the same thing can be said about women and their beaded accessories, since there is such a wide offer one really finds it difficult to choose. Worn tight or loose, with elegant fancy dress or casual wear, beaded necklaces make a woman feel glamorous.
Almost nothing of the ancient symbolism is still preserved with beaded necklaces nowadays. The only touch of esoteric meaning consists in the association of certain semiprecious stones with an astrological sign. The natives born under that sign would accordingly be protected and energized when wearing some form of crystal beaded necklaces for instance. Yet, one can never be sure about how much of the mystical charge is true, and how much is a pretext to sell more jewelry items.