Ancient Jewelry

See also: Ancient Jewelry: Introduction - Middle Eastern Jewelry - Egyptian Jewelry - Eastern Mediterranean & European Jewelry - Minoan Jewelery - Greek Jewelry - Roman Jewelry - Medieval Jewelry - Eastern European & Near Eastern Jewelry

Byzantine Jewelry

In Byzantine jewelry gold and silver, enamel, pearls, precious and semi-precious stones are often used in the same piece. This combining of different techniques is characteristic of some of the finest Byzantine jewelry. Jasper, sardonyx, lapis lazuli, agates and rock crystal were popular. Champleve and enamelling was especially fine, with pearls and polychrome glass creating wonderfully colourful effects.

A typically Byzantine style of earring was of crescent shape in gold openwork with a central cross in a circle often flanked by peacock motifs.

The commonest pendant in Byzantine jewelry became the cross, although jewelled pendants were not uncommon.

Many Byzantine finger rings came to bare Christian symbols, more often of gilded bronze than of gold.

Enamel work, especially enamel, was developed to a high point in Byzantine culture and had a strong influence on European jewelry of succeeding periods.

In the early centuries of the Christian era, various types and designs were used by pagans and Christians alike. True Christian themes began to emerge in Byzantine jewelry of the 5th and 6th centuries. Representations of Christ, the Virgin Mary, and Angels and saints, appeared in jewelry. Symbolic and allegorical themes - the peacock for immortality, the tree for life, and many others - came to augment the earlier floral, faunal and geometric designs of Byzantine jewelry.


Forward to: Medieval Jewelry

(alternative spelling: Byzantine jewellery)