For centuries, decorative strips of fabric were only available to the most noble, mostly because they were hard to get. It wasn’t until the Middle Ages that they were frequently used at all, and they were usually only available through merchants carrying silk imported from eastern countries. Their first noteworthy reference in literature was in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, though they were referred to as “ribbands” at the time. In the 1800s, the world of fashion and more efficient manufacturing processes encouraged people of all classes to use the material, though its primary use was for clothing at first. Until the 20th century, gifts were presented in unadorned paper cones. This changed in the early 1900s, when a popular short story suggested the idea of using a single red Christmas ribbon to wrap a package. Ever since, it has been a staple for gift wrapping and many other applications, like exterior decorating. The use of a ribbon, with a jewel suspended and attached, adapted by Americans, is a new variation of the ancient.