This would be my rough outline, with more research needed especially
on Asian jewelry and gem history. I think I would try for both a
timeline approach and a multi-cultrual one, since there was so much
If you're doing slides, show some Egyptian gold work, (lost wax)
then Roman (yea fibula!).Visigoth and Mongolian is a lot of belt
buckles and sword handles--things nomads could create. (I had two
whole semesters of early Christian and Medieval art, and we looked
at TONS of belt buckles and cloak pins)
Viking and Celtic stuff. Damascus steel.
Not sure where African work fits in (my art history was sadly
Euro-centric), but I'm picturing gold and thinking 10th century?
Armor; chainmaille. Renaisannce-maybe even the Baptistry doors by
Ghilberti in Florence, if you want to get into what a goldsmith knew
in those days. Salt cellar by cellini. After that, I have some big
gaps in my art history. You could show the Vermeer painting, girl
with the pearl earring. Crown jewels need to go in somewhere. Henry
the Eighth, Sir Thomas More. Millifiori beads (which I think are
from Roman glass work-check out Jamie Allen for history) and many
issues of Ornament magazine.
Oops--Indonesian glass beads WAY predate Roman.
Japanese sword metalwork.
Guess I'm mostly mentioning metal work.
American silver at the time of the Revolution.
British in India and the riches of the Raj's. Pearls-when?
Victorian (hair jewelry is a weird side road). Victorian jet.
Then there's Fabrege and fantastic Russian enamel. Art Nouveau.
Hmm, Chinese enamels and laquerware fit in somewhere. Carved jade
and ivory. Granulation--no clue on the dates or history.
Pre-Columbain inlay (Olmec). There was trading between inland Mexico
and central America for coral and shell, though I think most of what
we know as Native American is post-Columbus. Feathers-part of
headresses, earrings, neckpieces.
Maori ear jewlery. I can't picture Inuit jewelry, but there was so
much ivory work, jewelry must be there somewhere. Lakota (I'm
thinking of those wonderful cradle boards, but there were a number
of beaded useful objects)
And then you're up to the 20th century! Ndelebe bead work is 20th
century, I think.
Guess I've gone over the 10 minutes. Let us know what you come up