The human desire to embellish and ornament is timeless. Over the course of millennia, it has been chronicled and critiqued, lauded and lambasted. Jewelry is perhaps the most obvious manifestation of this desire. But does our cross-cultural fascination with jewelry represent simply a superficial fancy for adorning ourselves, or can this impulse to ornament our bodies mean something more? This panel addresses jewelry’s multiple functions across cultures and over time; its participants – hailing from various professions and cultural perspectives – discuss jewelry’s deeper meanings: from symbols of political power and spiritual significance, to souvenirs of friendship and love – or even agents of provocation.