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A necklace is an article of "jewellery which is worn around the "neck. Necklaces are frequently formed from a metal "jewellery chain. Others are woven or manufactured from cloth using string or twine. Common features of necklaces include colorful "stones (particularly "gemstones or jewels), wood (usually "carved or "polished), "art glass, feathers, "shells, beads or "corals - a hugely wide variety of other adornments have also been used. If a necklace includes a primary hanging feature, it is called a "pendant; if the pendant is itself a small container, it is called a "locket.
Necklaces are worn by both men and women in cultures around the world for purposes of adornment and social status. However, in Western society, the word necklace in English often carries a female connotation.["citation needed] Men in Western countries often call their neck jewelry chains instead.
Necklaces have been an integral part of jewelry since the time of ancient civilizations and pre-date the invention of writing.
Necklaces are believed to be as old as 40,000 years, during the "Stone Age. The oldest necklaces were made of purely natural materials - before weaving and the invention of string, durable vines or pieces of animal "sinew left over from hunts were tied together and adorned with shells, bones or teeth or colourful skins of human prey animals, bird feathers, corals, carved pieces of wood, colorful seeds or stones or naturally occurring gems, or other beautiful or artful natural elements found nearby.
Cloth working and "metalworking greatly expanded the range of jewelry available to humans. Twine and string enabled the development of smaller, more durable, more intricate necklaces. After the "Bronze Age began and humans discovered how to melt metal and cast it into shapes, "bronze, "copper, "silver, "gold, "electrum, "platinum and a variety of other metals were used to make eye-catching necklaces for both men and women, and metal "chains became possible. "Gemcutting and "glassblowing allowed "faceted and highly polished gemstones and/or beautiful art glass to be added to pieces.
In the modern era, a variety of new metals are available for necklaces that earlier generations could not properly melt until high-temperature "crucibles and "blowtorches were developed, such as "stainless steel and "titanium; "electroplating has enabled mass ownership of gold (or at least gold-veneer) jewelry. "Miniaturisation and "laser etching enable the crafting of finely detailed "artwork, or "insignias or other "calligraphy, within individual necklace elements.
Women's necklaces are often classified by length.
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A long, beaded necklace typically in the form of a wide lasso, usually with a religious symbol (the cross for Christian prayer beads) at the end of the lasso. The beads can be made of simple wood, metal, gems or even plastic, with each bead representing a prayer for the wearer to recite. The different sizes and/or colours of the beads typically represent which prayer is to be recited when that bead is reached.
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