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Explore the jewelry culture of the Western world

by wanghuaiyong 17 Jan 2024

In the late Middle Ages, people began to pursue beauty again. Gemstones were not only used in the production of various jewelry, but also appeared in large numbers in the decoration of clothing and belts. There are many variations of women's hair accessories, and there are also many kinds of jewelry used in hairstyles.

For example, the hairnet covering the head is made of gold wire and decorated with beautiful gems, which makes it look very luxurious. Brooches and buckles are also made of gold and silver materials decorated with precious stones. At this time, jewelry has gradually lost its religious and magical talismanic significance, and jewelry will inevitably become a mere decoration.

Jewelry has played an important role in human life since ancient times, and is inseparable from people's diet, daily life, thoughts and feelings, and even the country's political and economic activities, and its form and content are constantly undergoing new changes.

Once jewelry is recognized and used by humans, it becomes culturally colored. Therefore, the so-called jewelry culture, like other cultural branches, is the marriage of jewelry and culture, that is, the human culture contained in jewelry and the use of jewelry in the cultural field.

This special planning column will follow the main line of the development process of Western jewelry, scan the development process of Western jewelry, introduce jewelry styles, processing techniques, representative jewelry in various periods of Western society, and analyze its materials, origins, patterns, shapes and Explore the deep cultural connotation it represents in terms of aesthetic tendencies and other aspects.

Jewelry from ancient Western civilizations

Ancient humans in ancient Greece, ancient Rome, ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia created splendid ancient civilizations and created ancient handicrafts with their own characteristics, jewelry is one of them. It can be seen from unearthed cultural relics and documentary records that jewelry has appeared in the early days of mankind. They accompany the entire human development process and play an important role in it.

1.Ancient Greek jewelry

"Homer's Epic" mentions Mycenae as "rich in gold" many times, and the jewelry found in Mycenae is mostly made of gold, including gold crowns, gold masks, gold necklaces, gold rings, gold bracelets, Gold earrings, gold forehead ornaments, etc. Among them, the gold crown is the most exquisite. In jewelry, the "gold and silver interlacing" technology appeared, that is, gold and silver are interlaced, which is exquisite and unparalleled. In addition to gold jewelry, there are also purple jade and agate necklaces, amber necklaces, crystal beads, etc.



The democratic system of ancient Greek slavery was the social basis for the prosperity of arts and crafts. The pottery of ancient Greece and the bronzes of Chinese slave society both belong to the arts and crafts of slave society. However, ancient Chinese bronzes are full of majesty and coldness, while Greek pottery is full of lightness, liveliness and vitality. This is mainly determined by Greece's unique democratic system.

Compared with the autocracy of Eastern slavery, the creativity of the ancient Greeks was less suppressed, and the work of art craftsmen was valued more. The imaginative Greek mythology is the spiritual resource for the prosperity of ancient Greek arts and crafts.

Without Greek mythology, there would be no rich and colorful Greek art, which is determined by the religious thought of Greek pantheism. Therefore, Greek mythology is actually the sum of ancient Greek stories about claims and heroes, with certain "democratic" and "humanistic" ideas. It is a mythical world shaped from an anthropomorphic point of view. On the one hand, the Greek gods can be said to be people with typical human nature.

They are just people with great supernatural powers and immortality. On the other hand, real people can also have the character of gods, and there is no insurmountable gap between them. of the gap. In fact, the Greeks' belief in gods was nothing more than an affirmation of real people.

Therefore, their outlook on life is positive and optimistic, and their persistent belief is that man is the head of all things.


2.Ancient Roman Jewelry

Ancient Roman culture developed on the basis of absorbing the achievements of Etruscan and Greek cultures. Ancient Roman culture was the master of civilization in the ancient Mediterranean region and the disseminator of Greek and Eastern civilizations. Its cultural achievements had a profound impact on later generations of Europe.

The metal craftsmanship of ancient Rome occupies an important position in the history of ancient European arts and crafts, especially silverware craftsmanship and bronze craftsmanship. There are many varieties, gorgeous decorations, and excellent production, which are deeply loved by the world.

Silver is second only to gold in softness and has good ductility when processed. From a technical point of view, the decorative techniques at this time were mostly made by beating thin silver plates. From the 2nd to 3rd century AD, it gradually entered the late Roman style. This is the process of transformation from a naturalistic description to a new decorative expression. In addition to geometric patterns, character expressions and spatial expressions are also flat.

Like silverware craftsmanship, jade craftsmanship in ancient Rome also flourished at the end of the Republic, especially reaching its peak during the imperial period. Its materials are rich and colorful, common ones include carnelian, red sardonyx, amethyst, etc., as well as garnet, beryl, topaz, peridot, emerald, sapphire, etc. This type of jade was first used to make seals or rings with seal functions. In addition, the ancient Romans also liked to use jade to make various amulets or other accessories.

3.Ancient Egyptian Jewelry

Egypt is one of the world's famous ancient civilizations. Egypt has a long history. There are more than 110 large and small pyramids in the territory, there are hieroglyphs, and the golden masks of Egyptian pharaohs have been passed down to later generations, which shows the splendidness of ancient Egyptian culture.

From those relics of the ancient Egyptian civilization, it can be seen that the use of jewelry is quite extensive. Most of the materials used to make jewelry in ancient Egypt had imitating natural colors and were based on their symbolic meanings.

Gold is the color of the sun, and the sun is the source of life; silver represents the moon and is also the material for making the bones of gods; lapis lazuli resembles the dark blue night sky; dark green jasper produced in the desert east of the Nile resembles the color of fresh vegetables, representing regeneration; red The color of chalcedony and red jasper is like blood, symbolizing life.

The main types of ancient Egyptian jewelry include necklaces, earrings, tiaras, bracelets, bracelets, rings, belts, amulets, etc. They are exquisitely made and have specific meanings. There are many types of earrings, including those with pendants and without pendants, and ring-shaped and hoop-shaped.

The highest achievement of ancient Egyptian jewelry is the jewelry of the pharaohs. A large number of extremely exquisite treasures and jewelry were buried in the tombs of the pharaohs. However, after many years of looting, most of them were lost. Among the few pharaoh tombs that have not been robbed, the jewelry from the tomb of Tutankhamun, the pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty, is the most famous.

In addition to the physical objects discovered in archaeology, the jewelry worn by the characters in ancient Egyptian statues, reliefs and paintings also showcases to future generations the glorious achievements of this ancient civilization in jewelry craftsmanship with its lifelike depictions.

Mesopotamia jewelry

The earliest civilization in the world was the Mesopotamia civilization. Mesopotamia refers to the basin between the Tigris River and the Euphrates River. The Greeks called this place "Mesopotamia" and it was also called the "fertile star". The "moon" zone attracted early humans to stop, and civilization developed as a matter of course. The civilizations in the Mesopotamia and Mesopotamia were like torches, igniting the fire of civilization in Greece, Rome and even the entire Europe.

golden statue of pharaoh

It was the Sumerians who entered Mesopotamia starting from the Obeid period. There were no copper mines or even other metal deposits in Sumer, but the Sumerians trade activities were quite frequent at that time, which allowed a large amount of copper, silver, gold and chalcedony beads to enter and be gradually used in jewelry. .

In terms of jewelry types, there have been rings, necklaces, anklets, and bracelets. So far, some jewelry shapes in various regions of the world still have no trace of them.

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