Do You Know About Stone Age Jewelry Made By Small Stones?

Sridevi Tolety
Nov 07, 2022 By Sridevi Tolety
Originally Published on Dec 30, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Shruti Thapa
Stone Age jewelry is one of the oldest and most indispensable of jewelry made by human beings.

Jewelry is most commonly regarded as a fashion accessory, and for completing an outfit.

The mere concept of jewelry was discovered when time began, and man first walked on earth. Anthropologists say that the creation of jewelry shows the abstract thinking and awareness of humans.

The earliest jewelry sketches can be marked from the civilizations that sprouted in the Mediterranean around 3,000 to 400 BC. Ancient man created four types of tools during the Stone Age: Pebble tools, bifacial tools, flake tools, and blade tools.

Jewelry made from shells, stone, beads, and bones is prehistoric jewelry. It was likely worn as a mark of status or as protection from the dangers of life.

If you enjoyed reading this article, you would also love to read other articles on Stone Age facts and ages of man Stone Age iron age bronze age here on Kidadl.


The Stone Age began about 2.6 million years ago when researchers found the earliest evidence of humans using stone tools and continued until the introduction of metal tools. At the beginning of the Stone Age, man started using tools and other arts like jewelry and painting.

Jewelry played a vital role in the development of the human race. Stone Age jewelry appears to be plain, yet it was certainly intended as a form of personal ornamentation.

The Stone Age period is named after the primary tool developed, which is the stone, and it ended with the emergence of the Bronze Age and Iron Age.

There are three distinct periods in the Stone Age, namely Old Stone Age or the Paleolithic Period, dated from 30,000 BC to 10,000 BC, Middle Stone Age or the Mesolithic Period dated from 10,000 BC to 8,000 BC, New Stone Age or the Neolithic Period dated from 8,000 BC to 3,000 BC.

The Palaeolithic period is the only Stone Age that lasted the longest.

Each different period was marked distinctly according to the advancement in life of people.

Materials Used

Stone Age people made jewelry out of stones, bits of bone, shells, tusks, and tooths. Their jewelry included beads on bracelets, necklaces, hairpins, and pendants. The early beads were primarily out of shells, animal teeth, seed heads, animal bones, or stones, and they thread these beads onto strings made from animal skin or plant stems.

Among the first material utilized by men were indeed stone and wood. But the shell, fibers, animal skin also served specific purposes. A rise in awareness of humankind parallelled the increased development and usage of ever more sophisticated materials.

The earliest known examples of jewelry were made from seashells around 82,000 years ago. The prehistoric jewelry is incredibly age-old, but jewelry components dated back even earlier than these are beads of Nassarius shell.

It came from a marine mollusk species in Skhul Cave, situated in Israel. This type of beads was also found in Blombos Cave in South Africa. Historians prove from their findings that early Stone Age people made the fine bone tools necessary to create elegant beads.

Nowadays, school-going kids are being trained to make Stone Age jewelry using salt dough and twine. Children carve their beads into animal teeth, bones, or even shells using salt dough. Then they add bead holes and string the beads with thin strips to make a beautiful necklace. 

Types of Jewelry

Even though survival was tough in the Stone Age, people wanted to look good too! A stone or bone jewelry is partially or entirely made of stone or bone and is mainly found in the Stone Age.

In the beginning, humans made the first necklaces by stringing together shells. Soon they were creating all sorts of jewelry, including bracelets, hairpins, and pendants.

Bracelets and necklaces featured beads made from animal bones, shells, stones, teeth, and even human teeth. These beads were sometimes decorated with patterns or carved into shapes. Age-old jewelry has been found in many places.

A set of white-tailed eagle talons emerged in Europe about 1,30,000 years ago, and they were found strung onto a necklace or bracelet and worn as jewelry pendants. Some of the bracelets, namely the Obsidian bracelet, Green chlorite bracelet, and Greenstone bracelet, are the oldest stone bracelets ever discovered.

Early Stone Age people discovered materials that could be used as beautiful jewelry to impress other people. Amber was one such material, and polished amber has a shiny, golden, and transparent appearance.

The Venus of Hohle Fels is a Voluptuous carved from mammoth tusk, used as an amulet. Instead of a head, the carving has a spiral curve at the top.

Amazing Facts About Stone Age Jewelry

The finding of jewelry and other artwork has challenged scientists to bring back the date on which they say humans started to think modernly. In the symbolic thinking and human behavior that defines modern thoughts, making and wearing jewelry remains a historical benchmark.

Earlier, ornaments were used to identify tribal members or leaders, trade with other cultures, and have religious purposes.

This jewelry-making procedure was probably passed down from father to son or mother to daughter. Bone or stone jewelry would have been as valuable to an ancient man as diamonds and gold are today.

Ancient men obviously required weapons or tools, but jewelry must have been highly important to them, else they would not have spent so much time producing these primitive works of art. As man progressed from the early Stone Age to later periods, these early Stone Age jewelry increased in sophistication.

It is clear from history that ornaments were used to highlight the natural beauty of the wearers, and ancient civilizations appreciated ornaments.

Different messages such as elegance, wisdom, security, and prosperity were symbolized by wearing different jewelry pieces. Prehistoric humans probably thought of decorating their bodies before finding something like clothing.

People who lived along the seaside decorated themselves with a great variety of fish bones, shells, and colored pebbles before metals were used.

People who lived inland used jewelry made out of materials from the animals they had killed for food. These materials, along with animal skins and feathers, provided artistic decoration.

Early beads and many other forms of jewelry were used as accessories and as trade goods. Ornaments like amulets were used to identify a particular group of tribes.

Tribal people were often buried with jewelry, maybe with the intention of their usage in the afterworld. There is clear evidence to insist that jewelry played a significant role in the survival and growth of many primitive people.

In South Africa's Blombos Cave, beads were found that were 75,000 years old. Over 30 pea-sized shells with holes were discovered by an archaeological team led by Christopher Henshilwood from a University in Bergen (Norway), and they were strung into a necklace and bracelets in ancient times.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created many interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for do you know about Stone Age jewelry made by using stones and animals? Then why not take a look at stone-age farming or stone-age animals.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Sridevi Tolety

Bachelor of Science specializing in Botany, Master of Science specializing in Clinical Research and Regulatory Affairs

Sridevi Tolety picture

Sridevi ToletyBachelor of Science specializing in Botany, Master of Science specializing in Clinical Research and Regulatory Affairs

With a Master's degree in clinical research from Manipal University and a PG Diploma in journalism from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Sridevi has cultivated her passion for writing across various domains. She has authored a wide range of articles, blogs, travelogues, creative content, and short stories that have been published in leading magazines, newspapers, and websites. Sridevi is fluent in four languages and enjoys spending her spare time with loved ones. Her hobbies include reading, traveling, cooking, painting, and listening to music.

Read full bio >
Fact-checked by Shruti Thapa

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English

Shruti Thapa picture

Shruti ThapaBachelor of Arts specializing in English

With a passion for American, British, and children's literature, Shruti is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree at Garden City University, Bengaluru. Her fluency in Nepali, Hindi, and Mandarin demonstrates her linguistic abilities and global perspective. In addition to her literary pursuits, she has a keen interest in non-fiction literature, aesthetics, early childhood education, and Egyptian history. Shruti's research paper 'Bringing Art Illustrations In Education And Pop Culture' showcases her proficiency in these areas and her dedication to academic excellence.

Read full bio >