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Background and History

Jewellery (jewelry in American English) is any piece of fine material used to adorn the human body. The word jewellery is derived from the word jewel, which was anglicised from the Old French "jouel" in around the 13th century. Further tracing leads back to the Latin word "jocale", meaning plaything. Jewellery has probably been around since the dawn of man; indeed, recently found 100,000 year-old Nassarius shells that were made into beads are thought to be the oldest known jewelry.

Diamonds, long considered the most prized of gemstones, were first mined in India. Pliny may have mentioned them, although there is some debate as to the exact nature of the stone he referred to as Adamas; Currently, Africa and Canada rank among the primary sources.

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