1850–1775 B.C. — Egypt, gold, carnelian, turquoise, faience — Depictions of Egyptians presenting broad collars and other items of jewellery to deities are often found on temple walls. This piece was found in a tomb of a woman called Senebtisi, dating back to the 12th Dynasty. It is possible that it was a ritual offering and not intended for wearing. Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
12th–14th century — Peru, shell, stone, cotton — Throughout history South American civilisations have prised the tiny reddish-orange sells of the Spondylus or Thorny Oyster as it is commonly known. in fact, to some it was more precious a material than silver or gold. This ceremonial collar has a bold simplicity that allows these alternative materials to stand out, while also evoking a powerful statement. Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
17th century — Nepal, Gilt copper, semiprecious stones — Created for the royal family of the Malla dynasty of Nepal, this collar would have been worn for rituals and during prayer. The outermost ring contains thirteen images of deities, crafted by the finest Newari artists.
19th century — Turkmenistan, metal, stones — Turkman jewellery was crafted both for cosmetic and spiritual reasons. Different gems were thought to have unique effects on their wearers, for example carnelians and silver were worn to ward off death and disease, while turquoise was worn as a symbol of purity. Image courtesy of The MET
20th century — England, Silver, Tahitian pearls, taxidermy pheasant claws — Created for Alexander McQueen’s AW 2001-02 collection What a Merry-Go Round, this couture necklace features 59 dried pheasant claws and 23 cascading fringes of 645 grade AAA Tahitian pearls, combing to create a sight that is at once macabre and beautiful.