The Pros and Cons of Group Health Insurance

The health insurance marketplace is certainly challenging, but count your lucky stars that at least you have choices. To that end, this article is going to explore the pros and cons of group health insurance.

Group Health Insurance Pros

  • Group health premiums are subsidized by the employer. Generally, an employer must contribute at least 50% of the “employee only” premium. As such, if you are the employee, you can likely get a richer health plan for less premium than you would pay in the individual health marketplace. However, the cost to add your dependents to the employer’s plan, may be cost prohibitive. In this case, and assuming that your dependents can qualify, then you may want to put them on an individual health plan.
  • Group health premiums for large families are the same as for small families; whereas in the individual market, you pay a separate premium for every family member. So, if you have a large family, you may be able to get a better deal by adding them to your employer’s plan. As with any insurance change though, don’t make any changes without consulting with an experienced insurance advisor in your state.
  • Group health insurance in most states is guaranteed issue – meaning that you can’t be turned down because of pre-existing health conditions. This is a real blessing if you or a family member has a medical condition that prevents you from qualifying for a individual plan. But, this is a double-edged sword. While being guaranteed issue is a huge benefit for those with pre-existing medical conditions, it does come at a price. This one feature alone accounts for most of the disparity between group and individual insurance premiums. Yes, that is right – in most states, individual health premiums are almost always less expensive than group health premiums.
  • Most group plans cover maternity. So, if you are planning on having more children, you should definitely consider hopping on to a group plan. While you can add a “maternity rider” to individual plans, these riders tend to be expensive, restrictive, and otherwise provide less value than the coverage you can get in a group health plan. That being said, if you are considering having more children, we recommend that you contact a health insurance advisor in your state for advice about what is best for your family. The right answer is different for each unique family.
  • Economies of scale can benefit employees of large employers. It is true that the larger the group, the larger the risk pool is in which to share the risk which CAN result in lower premiums than are available in the individual health market. However, the guaranteed issue “issue” CAN wreak havoc on this type of plan. For example, a large employer with good benefits tends to retain employees for long periods of time. Eventually, the average age of the group starts to creep up and so do premiums. In addition, people with large medical needs (expensive medical conditions) tend to be attracted to large plans because they are guaranteed issue with good coverage. And so, over time, not only is the group’s average age increasing, but the group is also attracting employees with large expected health costs. This is the dilemma that we see with large health plans like the U.S. auto-makers and even government plans. Eventually, those with lots of medical needs begin to outnumber those with little or no needs and so premiums are driven higher and higher.

Group Health Insurance Cons

  • Group health insurance can be more expensive than individual health insurance. ln fact, if you don’t factor in the employer’s contribution towards premiums, then individual plans are almost always more affordable than group plans. However, as we discussed earlier, not every one can qualify for an individual plan.
  • What happens if your employment is terminated (by you or your employer)? Yes, you will likely have some benefit continuation rights (through COBRA or state continuation programs), but these benefits can be very expensive and the term limited. So, eventually, you either have to secure another job with benefits, an individual health plan (assuming you are insurable), or possibly join a government health insurance program for the uninsured (if you are not insurable). Let me emphasize, that you should NEVER be without some form of major medical health insurance. Being without this insurance puts you and your family in serious financial jeopardy. In fact, a recent Harvard University study found that 50 percent of all bankruptcy filings were partly the result of medical expenses.¹ To the same point, every 30 seconds in the United States, someone files for bankruptcy in the aftermath of a serious health problem. Don’t let this happen to you.
  • Group health insurance premiums are rising faster than individual health insurance premiums. Why? Because most group plans are guaranteed issue and since they accept “all comers”, they tend to attract those with high medical costs. On the other hand, most individual health insurance plans are medically underwritten. This means that the insurance company can say “no thanks” to any application that it deems to not be in its interest. Put yourself in their shoes – would sign a contract to provide $30,000 in annual benefits to someone that was only going to pay $3,000 in premiums (for a net loss of $27,000) if you didn’t have to? Hmm…let me me think about that one. The answer is a resounding “NO!”. Because of this underwriting process for individual health insurance, insurance companies can control their risk and more effectively manage their profitability, resulting in more stable prices.

As you can see, there is no clear cut answer as to which type of insurance is the best. The answer depends on a number of factors and is different for every unique situation. The best advice I can give you as you consider your health insurance options — get good advice from an experienced health insurance advisor.

Helpful Notes When Preparing A Taxi Driver Accounts To Save Money

Self employed taxi drivers in common with other self employed businesses are required to submit a self assessment tax return form each year reporting the main totals from the taxi drivers accounts. The final submission date for these accounts to enable the tax authorities to calculate the tax payable is 30th September while the final deadline for submission of the self assessment tax return is 31st January. Miss the 31st January deadline and the penalty fine is 100 pounds.

The simplest solution to preparing the taxi driver accounts is to collect all the taxi receipts and expenses together, hand them over to an accountant who will prepare your self assessment tax return and might charge between 150 to 450 pounds for the privilege. That is taxing. Taxi driver accounts does not have to be that taxing. You can prepare your taxi driver accounts and self assessment tax return yourself but do something.

These taxi driver notes in preparing the taxi driver accounts and completing the self assessment tax return are to assist that process.

Mileage Allowances

Taxi drivers can claim as an alternative to vehicle running costs mileage allowances of 40p for the first 10,000 miles and 25p per mile thereafter. You may not claim mileage allowance and vehicle running costs. Should you choose to claim the mileage allowance then keep good records of mileage covered, purpose of journey.

Taxi Capital Allowances

If you bought a vehicle in the financial year 2007-08 and used the vehicle as a taxi you can claim a first year writing down tax allowance of 25% of the cost of the taxi, restricted to 3,000 pounds for vehicles costing over 12,000 pounds. On vehicles purchased in previous tax years you can claim 25% writing down allowance on the balance not yet claimed. Many taxis are bought and sold each year and where a taxi is sold the capital tax allowance that can be claimed is the difference between the written down value for tax purposes and the amount of sale proceeds. First year allowance on non vehicle assets in the current tax year 2007-08 is 50% for small businesses.

Taxis bought on Hire Purchase

Claim capital allowances on the original cost of the vehicle, interest and other charges count as business expenses and go in the self assessment tax return box 3.61 Other Finance Charges

Taxi Running Costs

When completing the self assessment tax return taxi drivers should enter fuel costs in box 3.46 cost of sales not motoring expenses. A standard check carried out by any competent inland revenue inspector inquiring into a self assessment tax return would be to check when the taxi driver was on holiday and examine if fuel receipts had been included for this period. Not many tax returns are inquire into as the system is based upon trust but taxi drivers should ensure their accounts do not contain this fundamental tax fiddle. Taxi running costs also include repairs, servicing and parts including tyres, road tax, taxi insurance and AA/RAC membership. Include radio hire and taxi office costs in general administrative expenses.

Household expenses

If you run your taxi business from home you can claim a proportion of household expenses as business expenses in the taxi accounts. Household expenses are likely to be disallowed unless they are either specific to the business or a specific area of your home is devoted entirely to your taxi business. Using part of a room part time would not be sufficient to include the household expenses in the taxi driver accounts.

Spouse Costs

You can claim expenses for partners who work for your taxi business and payments up to 100 pounds per week would not attract income tax or national insurance however any payments claimed in the taxi driver accounts must be real payments for real work done. The Revenue naturally adopt a strict view on taxi expenses claimed for partner work as it is an area some people might use to reduce the tax liability. Care is required to justify the partner as an expense.

Other Expenses

Enter all business expenses in a named expense box on the self assessment tax return. Avoid entries in box 3.63 Other Expenses if possible as any significant amounts in this box may give rise to an Revenue inquiry into the self assessment tax return.

The best method of ensuring the taxi drivers tax bill is as low as possible in the future is undoubtedly to meticulously maintain good records of all taxi receipts and expenses and mileage covered which offers the opportunity for taxi drivers to compare the taxi running costs against mileage allowances and choose the most tax efficient option. The decision to claim mileage allowance or taxi running costs can and often does change during the financial year. In general when a more expensive taxi cab is purchased then the capital allowance of 3,000 pounds will often outweigh the potential mileage allowance although if the vehicle is low value the mileage allowance might be the best option and a method of saving valuable tax pounds which you are entitled to. The best taxi accounting software will automate the comparison of taxi mileage allowances with taxi running costs doing the taxi accountants work for you.

Are Olympic Medals a Piece of Mens and Womens Jewelry?

Is an Olympic medal a piece of jewelry? I know it’s more substantial then say a necklace you bought at Target, but does it qualify as a piece of mens jewelry or women’s jewelry because of its resemblance to a necklace? Maybe I’m just stretching, and I doubt that any athlete would ever wear it on a daily basis, but outside of something like the hope diamond, in my opinion an Olympic medal would be just about the coolest piece of jewelry you could ever wear. Imagine walking into a party with that thing on. Who wouldn’t be impressed?

I write this as I’m watching the Opening Ceremonies of the Paralympic games in Vancouver. Here in the US the Paralympic Games aren’t exactly “Muse-see” TV. Regardless, it’s some of the best athletes in the world excelling at what they do best. It’s essentially the same format as the Olympics with gold, silver and bronze medals with each athlete proudly representing their country. The medals vary slightly from the Olympic ones but still have the basic round design. They are impressive pieces of work which any able bodied Olympian would be proud to have.

So back to my original point: are Olympic medals considered jewelry? Mirriam-Webster defines jewelry as “objects of precious metal often set with gems and worn for personal adornment”. That sounds pretty much like an Olympic medal. No jewels I know, but a good amount of everyday jewelry doesn’t feature gems. Furthermore, the medals can be worn for personal adornment, but like so much other jewelry throughout history they don’t need to be. If you go to a museum and look at a lot of the jewelry on display much of it was maybe worn once and then put on display for the public (like J-Lo’s dresses). So from definition sake it seems that medals would definitely be jewelry.

The thing is that most athletes would probably not want to wear their medals as everyday wear. Besides the fact that they could lose them (by accident or by force), there are also two other factors. First, you look like a jerk wearing an Olympic medal everywhere you go. It’s like “Fine, we get it, you were the best in your field, now stop shoving it in our faces your stuck up so-and-so”. Secondly, with the weight of the gold medal on your chest they don’t exactly look comfortable. It looks like every time they would swing and hit your chest another bruise would occur.

So, do Olympic medals count as pieces of men’s and women’s jewelry? By definition yes. But if you ask an athlete, they would probably rather just keep it in their display cases.

How To Decide Which Piece of Jewelry To Buy Your Lady Friend

When it comes to buying gifts for women, jewelry is one of the top choices. Of course you can always give candy or flowers, but these things are temporary. They only last a short amount of time. Jewelry, on the other hand, can last forever.

So let’s say you decide to buy a piece of jewelry as a gift for someone you care about; then you have to decide what type of jewelry to purchase.

Every woman has her own tastes and preferences. If you do not already know what she likes, look for these cues and see if you can decide what would be best:

Earrings- Earrings often work best for women who like to wear their hair up. When they wear their hair up they give the opportunity to highlight earrings whether they are studs or long earrings. Earrings do not work well for women with young children who will be attracted to the earrings and pull on them while they are still in their mothers’ ears.

Necklaces- Necklaces look great on most women. Most women wear tops with a scoop or v neck that offers the perfect showcase for a beautiful necklace. They are not for all women, though. Some women prefer not to wear necklaces because they have larger chests. Women with larger bust lines might run into the problem of a necklace falling right into their cleavage and drawing too much attention there.

Bracelets- Bracelets can be worn by most women and look beautiful. Bracelets are a less commonly worn piece of jewelry, though. They make an outfit look much fancier, so when going for a casual look women often leave the bracelet out of their outfit.

Rings- Rings are one of the most popular pieces of jewelry for women. Unmarried women often wear rings on both hands, while married women primarily wear extra rings on their right hand. Rings can dress up an outfit, or can keep an outfit casual as well depending on the type of setting and stone that you choose.

Before making a choice, try to watch the habits of the person you are looking to purchase for. If she often wears rings or often wears necklaces, that may be because those are the pieces of jewelry that she likes best. But check her jewelry stash to make sure. She may not wear necklaces simply because she does not have any that she likes.

Jewelry is a great choice when looking for a gift to give to a woman you care about. To make sure you get the best gift for her personally, watch her habits, and look for the things mentioned in the list above. You will be sure to make a great choice!

Drug Abuse in College – How to Get Your Loved Ones Back

Violence is breaking out due to gang wars over drug territory. Are your kids in college safe from this?

Over 75 college students were arrested in San Diego State University in May 2008, for drug dealing on campus. 2 kilograms of cocaine, ecstasy pills, marijuana, illicit prescription drugs, meth, psychedelic mushrooms, guns etc were seized by police.

One half of all college students binge drink, abuse pharmaceuticals and illegal drugs. (ref: National Center on Addiction & Substance Abuse or CASA).

College can be a great place to get an education, but if a loved one has drug abuse problems, you should be planning their rehab program 1st. I’ve sent many college students to long-term drug rehab programs that use the social / educational model of recovery after drug abuse was discovered to be ruining a young person’s life.

College students seem to do very well with social / educational methods of rehab as they aren’t expected to admit they are powerless over their addiction. In fact the opposite is true. Social / Education rehab models consider a drug abuser is completely responsible for their drug abuse – but their lives are simply out of control.

What Drugs Of Abuse Should You Be Concerned About?

College students abused pharmaceuticals at higher rates than drugs like cocaine and ecstasy. Pain killing pharma had a 343% increase in abuse amongst students. (ref: CASA)

Anti-anxiety drugs like Xanax and Valium had a 450% rise in abuse in the college crowd.

Often drugs like Xanax are used to mask the after effect symptoms of meth and cocaine. So again, Rx use can be a visible indicator of other drug abuse as well.

Drug & Alcohol Abuse Damages The Mind

Drug abuse creates inabilities to differentiate between actuality and delusion. Drug users are purposefully imposing delusion into their lives with drug use. They only get upset when they no longer know the difference between reality and illusion. The line of reality slides over gradually, rarely all of a sudden.

What are the indicators of drug abuse?

The biggest indicators of college drug abuse are slides down of GPA and inability to handle course loads anymore. Communication level and frequency changes when people move from use to abuse. It often looks like depression or apathy or loss of goals in life. Those are symptoms of drug / alcohol abuse as well.

However, the biggest indications of drug abuse is lack of communication, lying and avoiding specific questions from parents or family members. Do your kids resist coming home or having you see them on campus? All these types of behaviors are indications of drug abuse.

Does Drug Rehab Work For College Students?

Yes, absolutely and work well. But if a rehab program hasn’t worked for you in the past, meaning they’ve relapsed, you need to re-evaluate the types of programs available. There is more than one way to achieve success in life and more than several ways to end drug addiction.

But be sure the goal of the program and your loved one is to end their drug addiction for real.

Determining the goal of the drug rehab model as well as the goals of the college student goes a long way in starting on the road to straight living and often straight A’s.

VA Home Loan Program Or FHA Home Loan Program – Which is the Best For You?

The United States government provides many benefits to the members that are now serving or have serve in the past in the US military. Active and former members of the United States military can take advantages of benefits ranging from education incentives to compensation for disability occurred while in the military to even life insurance programs. One of the most used and most important is the Veteran Home Loan Program that provides assistance in financing a home loan.

There are currently over 23 millions living veterans and just little less than 10% of these veterans have taking advantage of this great benefit. But there is also another government backed home mortgage loan that veterans may want to consider also. This government backed loan is the FHA Home Loan Program.

So if you are an active member of the military, a veteran, or even a surviving or current spouse of a veteran you may want to compare the advantages and disadvantages of both the VA Home Loan Program and the FHA Home Loan Program.

You need to be fully informed before you buy a home because it is a huge decision and making the wrong decision can cost you thousands of dollars in the future.

VA Home Loan Program VS FHA Home Loan Program

VA home mortgage loans are similar to many conventional home mortgage loans but they do have many great benefits that are not found in conventional loans such as: you do not need a down payment, your credit scores can be lower than what is required for conventional loans, and you can “rolled” the closing and loan fees back into the mortgage thus making it a 100% financing loan.

The FHA Home Mortgage Loan Program is the most popular of mortgage loan programs for non-veterans and is growing in popularity because of the tight mortgage market today.

They have some of the same advantages of the VA home mortgage loans such as: they are easier to refinance, more lenient on the credit scores to qualify, and certainly lower down payment than conventional loans. The FHA home mortgage loan down payment is currently 3.5 of the purchase price of the home.

VA Home Mortgage Loan Eligibility Requirements

A veteran will have to get a Certificate of Eligibility that is issued to by the military to qualified veterans. The Certificate of Eligibility will also include the entitlement amount, which is the portion of the mortgage loan that the VA will guarantee. You can get the Certificate of Eligibility from the VA or you can have your mortgage lender get it for you on the Internet.

One big difference from a VA mortgage loan and a FHA mortgage loan is almost anyone can get a FHA mortgage loan, only people that are or have been in the military can be a VA mortgage loan.

There are no income limits for FHA loans, but there are limits on how much a person can borrow and it varies from each county in the country. You can find out from your mortgage lender what the limit is in your area.

VA home mortgage loans do have limits on how much you can borrow but the limits can currently go up to $729,000 in some parts of the country.

Another difference from FHA loans and VA loans is VA does not require a mortgage insurance premium called a PMI. FHA loans do require mortgage insurance (MIP). By getting a VA home mortgage loan you will save this expense which can be quite costly over the years.

VA home loan makes sense if you are a qualifying member or veteran of the military and they will allow you to take advantage of today’s very low interest rate plus you can buy a home with 100% financing.

If you don’t want to tackle the slight hassle of dealing with the VA or you do not have available VA entitlement then a FHA home loan will make the most sense.

Whether you choose the Veteran Home Loan Program or the FHA Home Loan Program you will need to work with an approved mortgage lender who will help you through the mortgage and closing process.

Owning a home is still the American dream and the government has two great programs to help you to achieve that dream, so get more information on the Veteran Home Loan Program and the FHA Home Loan Program and make that American dream happen for you!

For Worry-Free Travel, Travel Agents Is the Solution

There are a plethora of full service travel agents who prepare the itinerary of the traveler from researching, planning to purchasing an entire trip to ‘Discover India’. The tour packages are at a discounted or subsidized rate due to channel partners that comprises of economic luxurious hotels, airlines, railways, transporters so on and so forth. Almost all of the travel agents cater to the needs of one and all – from single men & women, to families and clubs going on vacation or a weekend getaway at short notice, whatever the need the travel agents are ever ready to ensure that their clients are satisfied.

Most of the travel agents in Kolkata have expert tour operators on board who are capable of understanding the subtle nuances of the travel industry and therefore personal attention is given and most of them can speak English fluently. Intending travelers are able to access directly an assortment of travel packages which are affordable for middle class families who might be planning a trip to India.

By virtue of researching continually on travel destinations in India that are safe and secure, travel agents have been offering travel packages that are economical so as to ensure that sufficient funds are available for travelers to perhaps buy gifts for their loved ones as well. Almost all travel agents offer value added services, bus and car rental for example, train and air tickets, hotel booking and other ancillary tour and travel services at competitive rates.

Travel agencies in India are professionally managed and particularly so for foreign tourists be it groups or individuals. Travel packages are priced in a way so as to fit any budget that any traveler would be able to avail. Travel agency as a business grows exponentially because of the dedication of the team of tour and travel agents. All travel agencies have channel partners throughout India and the IT infrastructure of the agencies have been upgraded to offer further benefits in the days ahead. The reason behind the enhancement of the infrastructure is to make sure that the service that they are offering is one-of-a-kind. It’s no wonder that hordes of foreign tourists revisit India as they are delighted by the services provided by the travel agencies which by their own admission is absolutely phenomenal.

India is a land where the dichotomy of rags and riches is omnipresent and often can be seen alongside each other. It is a testament of the social and economic inequalities and divisions. Nonetheless it is a land that is worth exploring as it offers variety of breath-taking and idyllic scenic beauty in every nook and cranny. From the snow-capped mountain ranges of the Himalayas with their peaks so high up in the sky that it would appear they have gone beyond scraping the sky and are reaching for the heavens. To Rishikesh on the river Ganges in northern India is an ideal locale for white water rafting.

Goa is a much sought after destination as well for those looking to bask under the sun and have a suntan or are enthusiastic about all night long beach party under the moonlight and the starlit sky along with entertainment by the best music bands. Kerala is also a suitable locale for river cruises on the natural backwaters in the midst of coconut palms that seem to whisper, the beaches full of white sand, herds of elephants, and lush greenery everywhere that seem to seduce as they pass by on lazy sunny afternoons.

A ride of a lifetime on the Palace on Wheels perhaps would indeed prove to be a dream come true as the scenery of Rajasthan would enthrall anyone. After being mesmerized by the breath-taking and amazing natural beauty of Rajasthan one would have to head back to Delhi to visit Agra and the Taj Mahal in particular which must be seen if one is in Agra besides the Agra Fort. One could relish the idyllic beauty of the “queen of hills” Ooty, or have soul-searching and spiritual experience at Haridwar and Rishikesh. Last but not the least, the Royal Bengal Tiger, the pride and joy of West Bengal can be seen in the wild at the world’s largest Tiger Reserve.

For travel without any worries it is advisable therefore that all travel requirements be fulfilled by reputed travel agents. The travel agents are ever so eager and willing to cater to the myriad needs of travelers who find it extremely convenient to be able to have an agent take care of everything that is necessary to ensure that a traveler does not have to worry about anything whatsoever.

Effective Mental Health Treatment May Mean Using Alternative Methods

Effective mental health treatment doesn’t have to mean prescription drugs and hours of therapy. There are alternative methods for dealing with things like stress, depression, memory issues and even age related issues like Alzheimer’s and dementia. So why don’t we hear more about them? A lack of understand on the part of many doctors keeps the public from being educated and aggressive marketing by drug companies keeps prescriptions flowing.

This is not to say that there isn’t a time and place for mental health treatments like prescription drugs or therapy. Those can be helpful for certain things, but it may be that we are too quick to turn to them for mild to moderate forms of stress, depression, etc. Often there are alternative mental health treatments available.

While the category of alternative mental health treatments can be broad, the primary method that can be of benefit is natural supplements. Secondary treatment methods would include lifestyle changes such as exercise, altering diet, etc. Research has recently been done in both those areas that has opened the door to new thinking on how to address illness of the mind. Some of the change in thinking involves treatment, the rest prevention. However, it is the primary method of supplements that is the focus of this article.

Mental health treatments that are truly effective deal both with prevention and treatment. Supplements are a powerful tool to address each. Studies have been done showing that many herbal supplements are as effective as prescription drugs in dealing with various aliments. For example, a study on Passion Flower found it to be as effective as a leading anti-anxiety medicine for helping people suffering from anxiety disorders.

Ginkgo Biloba is another example. In a study done on Alzheimer’s patients the results demonstrated that Ginkgo may be as effective as a commonly used Alzheimer’s medication in delaying the symptoms of dementia in people that have the disease. It also seems to be effective as a preventative mental health treatment to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s in those who may be predisposed to it.

The thing about these alternative mental health treatments is that the findings of these studies are not likely to get public press and acceptance of the information by both medicine and the public alike is slow. However, they are far more cost effective and have fewer side effects than most prescription drugs. This is not something drug companies like very much so much is done by them to over emphasize their products.

Newer supplement products containing compounds like huperzine A, choline, L-Tyrosine and 5-HTP are also promising in their ability to support a healthy mind. They work to help the body produce and sustain neurotransmitters, the chemicals your brain needs to function. Many mental issues like depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, etc. involve reduced levels of certain neurotransmitters or destroy them outright. These compounds help counter that effect thereby sustaining brain function. Studies have been done on these, but more research is underway.

Know the Best Wood For Rustic Home Furniture

What type of furniture does rustic furnishings look like? Simple and provincial, and something that would show idealized country life.

Some people prefer to come home to have that rustic feel after a full day’s work. Hours of work and stress would surely wear out a person, so to come home and to be able to put your feet up, and enjoy the rest of the evening would certainly be something one would look forward to by the end of the day. A clean and relaxing home, furniture that gives you the ideal country feel is a definite plus.

Unfortunately, since there are different types of wood that furniture makers use to make wooden furniture, you may have to be more observant in asking for the type of wood used, should you wish to put your wooden furniture outside the house, in the patio, perhaps, or if you want it placed inside, in the living room.

Sample types of wood would include eastern white cedar, your usual ‘pine’ variety, the hickory, cypress, aromatic cedar, northern white cedar, and other tree types that could be used to make furniture.

Speaking about different types of wood, what is the difference, and why should this be considered when choosing wooden furniture? The Cypress sort almost does not have any grain; hickory has a small diameter; aromatic cedar changes in color when exposed to the elements of nature; eastern white cedar is knotty and hairy; while the northern white cedar lasts for twenty years, when untreated, and would turn to a silvery gray when exposed to the elements.

Jewelry In Ancient Rome

Jewelry is a fascinating fashion accessory that has been popular from ancient times. It has played a variety of roles including political, religious and ornamental, and jewelry artifacts have helped modern historians shape pictures of the daily lives of ancient civilizations.

Jewelry in ancient Rome is no exception. There are literary accounts and pictorial depiction such as in the Regina tombstone, plus an abundance of other artifacts available that help us to understand the role jewelry played during this fascinating time.

Jewelry was worn by men and women though it was subject to conventions of the time; particularly with regards to the appearance of men. Male jewelry was typically practical in nature. Men usually wore a single ring. The ring would serve a functional purpose. Typically a signet ring, the male jewelry item was used to seal official documentation. The male signet ring was initially iron but was later produced in gold as it displayed status and wealth more clearly.

Other practical uses of the signet ring included the inlay being a type of key for a strong box. Literary evidence suggests that propriety regarding male jewelry was ignored by a minority of fashion fanatics, as with any other social group. Trends and attitudes also changed from the time of Emperor Augustus. The emperors were established with official state clothing during his reign which included jewelry as a display of status and power.

Jewelry also had a protective function in ancient Rome. Boys wore an item of jewelry known as a bullah. This was worn from being a baby. It was worn around the neck and was a form of chain with a pouch which contained an amulet. This was a jewelry item worn by most classes, but the rich upper class had bullahs made of gold. The amulet was often phallic in design, as boys were considered to be the stronger species and so needed protection. Another jewelry item worn by boys was a small gold ring which was again carved with a phallus for good luck

With regards to women, jewelry was first and foremost a display of wealth and status. Women had no obvious status distinction through their dress like Roman men. Therefore, hairstyles and jewelry were the only distinction possible. The importance of jewelry to the status of women is apparent through certain historical events. When the Oppian law was passed in 195BC curbing the use of jewelry and suggesting it be handed over for war materials, women demonstrated against this in the streets. During the campaigns of Marcus Curellius, women chose to donate their jewelry to get enough gold to send a huge gold vase as an offering to Delphi. Their behavior was rewarded with speeches at funerals which had previously been only for men.

The type and amount of jewelry worn by women varied, but the richest women were the most flamboyant in terms of amount and style. Amber jewelry was only worn by lower class women and was thought vulgar by the wealthy who favored gold jewelry. Other items used to make jewelry include pearls, colored glass beads and polished stones. These would be inset in gold and would vary in size and style, depending upon status. It was possible to tell a lot about a woman in ancient Rome by the jewelry she wore.

The types of jewelry worn include necklaces with adornments such as pendants, amulets. Fibula which are similar to safety pins were used as fasteners and so were often adorned to make them a piece of jewelry that was both function and beautiful. Earrings were popular and came in both hoop and drop styles. Rings were usually inset with stones or carvings.

Particularly popular jewelry items were engraved gems which were referred to as intaglio. These were gems such as carnelian, jasper and chalcedony that had a sunken or engraved image, created with the use of wheels and drills.

Tomb jewelry findings suggest that bracelets were usually worn in pairs with one on each arm. Some tombs have revealed up to 7 items of jewelry on each arm which shows how the conventions for men and women differed. Even gold thread hairnets have been discovered.

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