A necklace is an article of jewelry that is worn around the neck. Necklaces may have been one of the earliest types of adornment worn by humans. They often serve ceremonial, religious, magical, or funerary purposes and are also used as symbols of wealth and status, given that they are commonly made of precious metals and stones.
The main component of a necklace is the band, chain, or cord that wraps around the neck. These are most often rendered in precious metals such as gold, silver, and platinum. Necklaces often have additional attachments suspended or inset into the necklace itself. These attachments typically include pendants, lockets, amulets, crosses, and precious and semi-precious materials such as diamond, pearls, rubies, emeralds, garnets, and sapphires. They are made with many different type of materials and are used for many things.
In Ancient Mesopotamia, cylinder seals were often strung and worn as jewelry. In Ancient Babylon, necklaces were made of carnelian, lapis lazuli, agate, and gold, which was also made into gold chains. Ancient Sumerians created necklaces and beads from gold, silver, lapis lazuli and carnelian. In Ancient Egypt, a number of difference necklace types were worn. Upper-class Ancient Egyptians wore collars of organic or semi-precious and precious materials for religious, celebratory, and funerary purposes. These collars were often ornamented with semi-precious, glass, pottery, and hollow beads. Beads made from a variety of precious and semi-precious materials were also commonly strung together to create necklaces. Gold that was fashioned into stylized plant, animal, and insect shapes were common as well. Amulets were also turned into necklaces. In Ancient Crete necklaces were worn by all classes; peasants wore stones on flax thread while the wealthy wore beads of agate, pearl, carnelian, amethyst, and rock crystal. Pendants shaped into birds, animals, and humans were also worn, in addition to paste beads.