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Why have humans always worn jewelry?

Hanging our necks and ears with baubles and trinkets—no matter what the price tag—can read as superficial. But the aesthetic power of jewelry, and the act of adorning our bodies, is one of the oldest and most universal traditions humans share.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new exhibit “Jewelry: The Body Transformed” explores this idea, highlighting humanity’s vast and complex relationship with jewelry through a collection of 230 pieces created between 2600 B.C.E. and the present era.

“Jewelry is one of the oldest modes of creative expression—predating even cave painting by tens of thousands of years,” Met director Max Hollein said in a press release about the exhibit, which opens on Nov. 12.

The exhibit spans both geography and history. Viewers will see headdresses from Calima (present-day Colombia), seed pearl strands from Victorian-era London, contemporary designs from Alexander McQueen, and much more.

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Tags: #art, #fashion, #history
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