Traditionally, gold has been seen as a symbol of rank. And, in most of the ancient societies the use of gold and its possession was restricted to only high class society members. From Sumerian graves to Egyptian civilization gold was the symbol of royal class people. Royalty were buried along with imperial gold jewelries and ornaments in Sumerian graves whereas the Pharaohs of the Egypt owned all the gold. Likewise, gold was the means for reinforcing the institution of leadership during the Bronze Age in Western Europe.
There were severe restrictions on wearing imperial gold jewelry in the early Roman era. In those times, even high ranking officials and families were allowed to own only a limited quantity of gold. Likewise, the use of gold was restricted only to Church relics in the early Christian era. People were not allowed to own these imperial gold jewelries at those times. Clement of Alexandria in the late second century AD, however, explains that these rules were exceptional to women who had to adorn themselves in order to please their chaste husbands.
The restriction of use of imperial gold jewelry to wealthier and noble ones in Europe was made possible in the 14th century sumptuary laws. There was provision of rewarding gold chains to those people who have been providing loyal service to royal courts during the Middle Age to till 18th century.
In the Inca Civilization gold was often related to the solar deity ‘Inti’. The supply of gold among the Incas was controlled by their ruler. At those times, the widespread trade of gold was forbidden. However, gold was often distributed by the imperial ruler to those nobles who had demonstrated bravery during the battle or had been loyal to the service. Gold ear flares were worn by wives of distinguished people among the Incas to show their rank. The Asante in Africa controlled the gold resources in Africa from 1700 to 1900. The gold jewelry was only made available to royal families and senior officials. At that time, gold dust was used as currency. Similarly, the Asante king collected tax on gold items and ornaments that were recast each year.
Italian gold jewelry is extremely old. About 3000 years ago, the Tuscanian people who were then known as Etruscans started crafting gold jewelry. There is proof of this in the museums of Italy. The intricate designs of Tuscany were beyond imagination and even today, the gold jewellers today create copies and sell to retain the Italian heritage.
The gold industry of Italy is known to be one of the biggest in the International market. About 500 tons of gold is used in one annual year by about 10,000 gold industries. Almost 50,000 people earn their daily bread from these gold companies. Places well known for gold business in Italy are Tuscany, Lombardy, Campania, Veneto and Piedmont. One of the finest gold jewelry in the world is manufactured in Italy. The purity of gold, excellent craftsmanship and intricate designs put Italian gold jewelry on top of the global lists. Italian gold jewellers usually use 18 Karat gold, but higher Karats are also used often. They also use different colours of gold, besides the yellow and white along with two and three toned gold. Recently China, India and Turkey have caught up with the Italian market; never the less Italian gold jewelry is appreciated all over the globe even today.
A vast range of gold jewelry is produced by Italy like rings, anklets various chains, necklaces, brooches, pendants and bangles, but besides this it is well known for the religious jewellery it creates and sells. These religious jewelries comprises of Christian crosses, medallions, Celtic ornaments and Catholic crucifixes etc. The craftsmanship is excellent, so these products are very popular. The modern gold jewellery is changing Italian goldsmiths and they have started creating jewellery pieces with less gold in weight, the rings have become bolder with precious and semi- precious gems embedded in them, which in turn gives a chance to the low budget buyer to purchase jewelry. On the net or in stores one can look for Italian gold jewelry pieces accordingly, design and price. Since Italians are very proud of their gold industry, they have Goldsmith schools in many places to retain their heritage and learn new techniques to keep the industry going.