consists of small decorative items worn for personal adornment, such as
. jewelry may be attached to the body or the clothes, and the term is restricted to durable ornaments, excluding flowers for example.
may be made from a wide range of materials.
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 jewelry can be understood as a status symbol, for its material properties, its patterns, or for meaningful symbols. Jewelry has been made to adorn nearly every body part, from hairpins to
, and even
, coins, or other precious items are often used, and they are typically set into precious metals. Alloys of nearly every metal known have been encountered in jewelry. Bronze, for example, was common in Roman times. Modern fine jewelry usually includes
. Most contemporary gold jewelry is made of an alloy of gold, the purity of which is stated in karats, indicated by a number followed by the letter K. American gold jewelry 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 jewelry use in America and Europe. These high purity alloys, however, are widely used across Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Platinum alloys range from 900 (90% pure) to 950 (95.0% pure). The silver used in jewelry is usually sterling silver, or 92.5% fine silver. In costume jewelry, stainless steel findings are sometimes used.
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