Jewellery has a long tradition among humans. The first pieces of jewellery originated in Africa and were made by modern people over 100,000 years ago. In Europe, humans have been using jewellery as a sign of identity and group membership for over 42,000 years. In contrast to evidence of art and music, jewellery is much more common. Each region has developed its own particular forms of jewellery. Thus, even regional groups and possibly language boundaries can be identified in the Upper Palaeolithic.
Humans were quite inventive in their choice of jewellery materials; they used shells, ammonites, mammoth ivory, bones and animal teeth. Technically, great efforts were made for the production of beads, pendants and clothing trimmings. The fine workmanship of the surfaces of the objects is striking. Each archaeological cultural epoch developed its own standard forms and preferred a certain range of materials. In the Swabian Aurignacian, for example, hundreds of double-hole beads were made of mammoth ivory.