In ancient times, through jewelry, people showed off their wealth and status in society. Read more about the ancient jewelry from all around the world!
Since the beginning of time, people have loved to adorn themselves with beautiful jewelry. However, in ancient history, jewelry has a bigger role than being just as personal adornment. The ancient jewelry used to symbolize the status in society, religion and wealth. In many places around the world, only people of a certain rank were allowed to wear rings or other jewelry. The oldest discovered jewelry is more than 82,000 years old and it comes from Morocco. A team of archaeologists have found the small shells covered with red clay. The archaeologists have also proved that they have been used as an ornament.
The cradle of civilization has a rich culture and history. So, it is not a surprise that some of the most famous ancient jewelry come from this place. Also, the favourite metal for jewelry for the Egyptians was the gold. However, they used glass, gems and other materials as well. Most of the ancient Egyptian jewelry was discovered in the tombs of the pharaohs. The beetle is one of the most common symbols represented in the ancient Egyptian jewelry. Egyptians associated this insect with life and birth. Other symbols that were very common in ancient Egypt were the cobra, which represented royal and divine sovereignty. Also, the eye of the hawk god Horus, the tet, which represented endurance and the human with a head of a hawk which was a representation of the soul.
Compared to other ancient civilizations, the early Greeks created simple jewelry. However, as time passed by, the resources of gold increase and so did the complexity of their jewelry. A lot of the discovered jewelry comes from the tombs and graves. The ancient Greeks believed that the buried jewerly would accompany its owner to the afterlife. The most popular shape of jewelry with the old Greeks was the crescent.
A lot of the well-preserved ancient Roman jewelry come from the archaeological sites at Herculaneum and Pompeii. At first, the early Romans adopted the simple style from the Greeks and Etruscans. However, as the Roman Empire grew more wealthy and powerful, the jewelry became more complex and colorful. They loved to incorporate pearls and other precious stones into their jewelry. Also, out of all the other cultures, the Romans have the biggest collection of extravagant and lavish rings.
China is one of the oldest civilizations in the world and they started to make jewelry more than 5000 years ago. They used jade in many of the jewelry. In the Chinese culture, the jade represents the best qualities of the human, the durability, beauty and the hardiness. Also, they consider it as a talisman and to them it was even more precious than gold. The jewelry in China showed people’s status and wealth. The most popular jewelry items were the pins, headbands, rings, earrings and the amulets. China, as many other cultures, had a custom to bury the owner with his/hers jewelry.
The ancient Celtic jewelry is famous for its red enamel. The artistry incorporated in the ancient Celtic jewelry took the enamel application to a whole other level. The most popular styles and types of Celtic jewelry include the Celtic torc, the knot work, the Claddagh ring, triskele and the Celtic cross. The Claddagh ring is a symbol of love, friendship and loyalty. Also, they used it as a wedding ring. The Celtic Triskele is a symbol of the three realms: land, sku and sea. People wore the Celtic Torc as a neckband, which was decorated with figures of animals and human. So, the Celtic knotwork is a traditional design that doesn’t have a beginning or end. This type of jewelry represents the eternity of nature, love and life. And the Celtic cross is a type of a halo or a nimbus.
Indians used many raw materials such as clay, feathers, berries, seeds, flowers, fruits, leaves, stones and wood to make jewelry. They used animal teeth, claws and bones as well. Like other ancient cultures, the jewelry represented a status symbol. The interesting thing about the ancient Indian jewelry is that there are jewelry pieces made for almost every part of the body. Such as, anklets, necklaces, pendants, bangles, chokers, bracelets, finger rings, toe rings, waist bands, crowns, nose pins, nose rings, amulets and thin bands for the forehead.
At first, Mayan created their jewelry out of stones, feathers, shells and jaguar claws and teeth. As they discovered more natural resources, the Mayans begun to make their jewelry out of bronze, jade, copper, silver and gold. Both men and women wore the same jewelry expect the nose plugs and the lip plug. Only men with high social status were allowed to wear nose plugs and the lip plugs were reserved for women. All men and women wore earplugs. Also, those earplugs were really heavy and they disfigured the earlobes.
The Aztecs used jewelry to show off their status in society and many of the emperors loved to wear earrings and necklaces. The jewelry was made out of different types of materials. The most common materials used for the making of the jewelry were clay, wood, copper, gold, silver, shells, obsidian and feathers. The artisans dedicated their lives to making jewelry and they incorporated various stones such as quartz, jade, opal, turquoise and moonstone. The breath-taking ancient Aztec jewelry fascinates a lot of people. So, it is no surprise that many people sell and buy replicas to enhance their look.
A lot of the ancient Persian jewelry discovered in many archaeological sites date back as far as the third millennium. In one of those sites, archaeologists found more than 20.000 pieces of ancient jewelry. Persians had a special affection for the emerald, diamonds and other gemstones. Also, the wealthy people had carvings of animals or mystical creatures on their jewelry.