If the history of bronze, iron or copper is anchored in very distant times, that of aluminum begins in the 19th century, at the crossroads of the two industrial revolutions.
This late discovery is explained by the fact that aluminum only exists in nature in the form of compounds which mask its metallic nature. The best known of these compounds, alum, has been used since ancient times. But it was not until the 18th century that the earth was isolated and baptized alum "alumina", and that it was suspected that it contained metal.
In the 19th century, various European chemists tried to isolate aluminum before the decisive experiments of Wöhler in Germany and Sainte-Claire Deville in France.
The first process for obtaining aluminum is expensive, initially limiting its use to luxury items. Considered semi-precious, it is then often associated with gold or silver and encrusted with precious stones in jewelry sets.