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Higher purity levels are less common with alloys at 22 K (91.6% pure gold), and 24 K (99.9% pure gold) being considered too soft for jewellery use in America and Europe.
These high purity alloys, however, are widely used across Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
However, any inclusion of lead or lead solder will give an English Assay office (the building which gives English jewellery its stamp of approval, the Hallmark) the right to destroy the piece, however it is very rare for the assay office to do so. These may be made of glass, gemstones, metal, wood, shells, clay and polymer clay.
Beaded jewellery commonly encompasses necklaces, bracelets, earrings, belts and rings.
In French and a few other European languages the equivalent term, joaillerie there, may also cover decorated metalwork in precious metal such as objets d'art and church items, not just objects worn on the person.
For many centuries metal, often combined with gemstones, has been the normal material for jewellery, but other materials such as shells and other plant materials may be used.In most cultures jewellery can be understood as a status symbol, for its material properties, its patterns, or for meaningful symbols.Jewellery has been made to adorn nearly every body part, from hairpins to toe rings, and even genital jewellery.Jewellery may be made from a wide range of materials.
Gemstones and similar materials such as amber and coral, precious metals, beads, and shells have been widely used, and enamel has often been important.
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