JEWELLERY IS IMPORTANT IN THE AFTERLIFE
Archaeological research shows that gold was the preferred material, supplemented by coloured blades and semi-precious stones. They were mainly worn by the richest inhabitants of Egypt: the jewels symbolized power and emphasized social status. Ancient Egyptians who believed in life after death and often filled the tombs with the goods they had accumulated during their lives. Jewellery was not an exception: it applied to the deceased, because it was thought that it would be appreciated in the afterlife. It is thanks to this that so many artefacts have survived to date. The jewellery emphasizes the importance of colour symbolism for Egyptians. The green symbolized new life, blue sky or Nile water, red light, black and fertility. Malachite, lapis lazuli, jasper, onyx or turquoise were the most popular for making jewellery. The art of silversmithing was very developed in Egypt: engraving, inlaying, die-cutting or casting.
Still in ancient Mesopotamia, jewellery techniques were at a very high level. In the area of the Royal Cemetery of Ur (southern Iraq), many intact graves dating back 3,000 years have been discovered, and in them, jewellery. Bracelets, ankle bracelets or necklaces were made of gold, silver and semi-precious stones (including lapis lazuli, agate and jasper). Mesopotamian craftsmen also knew techniques such as enamelling, engraving, granulation and watermarking.
JEWELLERY IN GREECE AND ROME
Crowns, earrings, necklaces, bracelets: all these decorations were known and popular in ancient Greece. Jewellery is not worn every day, but during the holidays, to highlight not only beauty, but also social status and wealth. The jewellers’ favourite jewellery included agates, amethysts, emeralds, pearls and onyx.
The effects of the conquest of Greece by Rome were also visible on the jewellery, rather simple and elegant jewellery began to take on more and more fanciful forms. The Romans considered jewellery not only as decorative objects, but also as amulets (to protect the wearer from harm) and commonly used decorative objects (for example, brooches intended to dress clothing). In addition, the jewellery was also used to confirm your identity, we are talking about rings with engraved stones, which were pressed to heat up wax “sealing” documents.
IN FULL ESSOR
In the Middle Ages, the art of jewellery was still flourishing. In gold, silver and lower metals (copper, iron), not only necklaces, bracelets and rings were made, but also birthmarks, brooches and amulets. The cloisonné technique has become very popular, consisting in decorating the object with thin threads and then filling the spaces thus created with an enamel of a different colour. The technique probably comes from Cyprus, but it quickly became popular in many parts of medieval Europe. In Europe, semi-precious stones have also been used, but to a lesser extent. One of the most popular stones was pomegranates (named because they look like the seeds of this fruit), also present in Poland. Over the following centuries, jewellery developed, and the jewellery trade developed. The basic raw material, from which the ornaments were made, there was still gold, but new stones were used: amazonite’s, cordierites, opals, turquoises. In Napoleon Bonaparte’s time, the cameo, a precious or noble stone decorated in relief, was very popular.
Over the following centuries, jewellery became more and more popular: it was worn not only in department stores, but also every day. One of the most timeless ornaments has become the gold ring with a diamond.
Today, although classic designs are still popular, designers are inspired by previous eras. We have jewellery that refers to the Elizabethan and Victorian periods (very ornate, which were once worn in palaces) or decorated with stones, which were fashionable in ancient Egypt. As talented designers prove, inspiration is now omnipresent: in nature and even in architecture.