If you are looking to get more creative with your jewelry style, find inspiration in ancient Greek jewelry. The ancient Greeks didn’t limit their jewelry to the standard of earrings, bracelets, rings and necklaces. Prominent pieces in ancient Greek jewelry are diadems, brooches, pins and necklaces on the shoulders rather than around the neck. Want to feel like the Goddess of jewelry? Want to buy fine gemstone jewelry that is unique? Discover more about ancient Greek jewelry in this article so you will know what to look for on your next jewelry shopping spree.
Gods, Animal Heads & Status Symbols
No, this is not the beginnings of a list for an ancient ritual. Ancient Greek culture was strongly influenced by their beliefs in the many Greek Gods and the power of talismans. This carried through in their jewelry design. Common depictions in ancient Greek jewelry are the God Eros to symbolize love and lion heads to symbolize strength. Later, during the Hellenistic period famous for its human statues, human figures also appeared in jewelry.
Ancient Greeks wore jewelry to represent status and during special occasions. Thus, the symbolism behind the design is just as important as the materials used in the piece. A fine example are the golden wreaths the noble men used to wear. Death is also considered a special occasion. Sometimes, they designed jewelry specifically to wear in the afterlife or created a duplicate of the jewelry piece that was their status symbol.
Gold, Enamels & Stone
Since jewelry was for special occasions, gold was the chosen precious metal. Some gemstones such as agates, carnelians and pearls found their ways into designs but much less prominently compared to Byzantine jewelry. Instead, ancient Greek goldsmiths focused on elaborate solid gold designs. In place of colorful gemstones, enamel was inlaid into jewelry pieces. The contrast in colour and material makes the entire piece stand out.
Though ancient Greek jewelry focused less on gemstones, ancient Greek craftsmen are well-known for their glyptography. Glyptography or glyptics is the art of carving stone. Sardonyx is an example of a popular stone because its properties made it easier to carve. Ancient Greek glyptics were proficient in making unique intricate designs into stone rings. This led to rings being used as a personal seal or insignia of a person’s status.
A Headpiece, A Brooch & Shoulder Necklace, Please
Ancient Greek jewelry gives you the chance to expand your accessory horizons. Experiment with new pieces that you haven’t worn before. You don’t have to directly crown yourself the new queen of ancient Greek jewelry with a gold diadem. Although, we definitely recommend you try one when you want to feel like a princess.
You can start with something more conventional like a stone brooch in the lapel of your power suit. Or, wear a snake spiral bracelet the Greek way, above your elbow. Solid gold bracelets that you wear higher on your arm a great accessory for festival season.
Then, let your inhibitions go and wear ancient Greek jewelry statement pieces. You can create a completely new dress by wearing a necklace that is worn from shoulder to shoulder. This accessory is matched best with a simple strapless dress. Even subtle headpieces can be a gorgeous addition to your feminine looks. Find a headpiece that will fold prettily into your braids.
Shopping For Ancient Greek Jewelry
Browse around to find your own characterizing symbol within ancient Greek jewelry. Detailed designs of acorns, birds and wings are examples of common symbols. You can channel your inner Goddess and wear depictions of Ceres or Aphrodite. Have fun with the symbolism in your jewelry choices. If you are worried about your jewelry becoming part of a costume, stick to one symbol. You might just create a unique defining feature in your jewelry aesthetic.
With a little bit of patience, you can find great ancient Greek jewelry pieces. Browse online or visit antique markets near your town. Alternatively, you can opt for reproductions that look just like the original. Some designers will refurbish ancient Greek coins or stones into new jewelry pieces. It is more than okay to only take inspirations from ancient Greek jewelry for your modern day jewelry pieces.
Here’s a final note on choosing ancient Greek jewelry. Ancient Greek jewelry was meant for special occasions and your piece should feel that way too. The defining character of ancient Greek jewelry is unique craftsmanship. Choose an intricate design that shows craftsmanship such as a ring with a sardonyx carving or a delicate headpiece made of gold sheet. Dare to wear jewelry pieces with bold designs. Wearing a jewelry piece that is not common will make you stand out in the crowd. Let your exquisite taste in jewelry be your status symbol.
If you want to read more about jewelry, feel free to browse through our other articles as well. To view Ana Luisa’s unique jewelry collections, visit our online jewelry shop.
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