Byzantine jewelry is the epitome of a statement piece. The Byzantine Empire reigned during the middle ages and was characterized by opulence, Christianity and extravagance. These characteristics clearly showed in Byzantine jewelry. Picture heavy gold pieces, countless gemstones and accessories layered upon accessories. If you want to buy fine gemstone jewelry that will make heads turn, Byzantine jewelry is the way to go. Read on to learn how to recognize the Byzantine style of jewelry and why these statement pieces belong in your collection.

How to Recognize Byzantine Jewelry

The Roman Empire during the Byzantine period was a time of luxury. People were flaunting their wealth by covering themselves in jewelry. Imagine headpieces, chunky hinged bangles, engraved rings, long dangling earrings and intricate necklaces but all of them worn at the same time. That was the way to style your jewelry.

Most jewelry was gold and the goldsmiths were not skimping on the weight. Byzantine jewelry was heavy with gold even the pieces featuring openwork. Byzantine jewelry was also colourful with embossed engravings. Gold usually featured Christian depictions or references to important life moments such as a marriage.

Gemstones such as pearls, beryl, garnets and corundum were commonly used. In fact, during the Byzantine period, gemstones were featured more prominently than gold. A typical Byzantine jewelry style is to polish gemstones into cabochons and then set in collets.

Another way the Byzantines displayed their rich gemstone collection was through detachable gemstone links. A hole was drilled into a gemstone and then fitted with a gold wire and hook. This allowed them to form new pieces of jewelry with the same gemstones. A Color Clix system for jewelry, if you will.

Why You Need It

Today, adorning yourself with gold and gemstones from head-to-toe might seem a little over the top. Or does it? Nothing can make you feel quite as luxurious as dazzling statement jewelry pieces. Don’t be afraid to take a few notes from Byzantine women and add more glam to your style.

If your closet is filled with soft tones or monochrome colors, feel adventurous with gemstone jewelry. Adding color to your outfit through jewelry doesn’t take away from the sleekness of an otherwise monochrome look. Byzantine jewelry can be your experiment in colors.

Though the women in the Byzantine period piled on their jewelry, that doesn’t mean you have to. A single Byzantine inspired piece can already make your look more eye-catching. A statement jewelry piece can complement an already vibrant outfit or elevate an otherwise simple outfit. Statement jewelry pieces are a completion of your look.

Byzantine jewelry was a reflection of the person’s life. The Byzantine jewelry that you choose can also carry meaning for you. For example, you can honor your grandmother with a gold Virgin Mary necklace. Engraving a ring or bracelet in the memory of your wedding day is also a Byzantine tradition. You could also choose a statement piece decorated with your birthstone or the birthstones of your children. Byzantine jewelry can inspire very personal pieces.

How to Style Your Byzantine Piece

So, now you that you feel brave enough to wear Byzantine jewelry, here are a few tips on how to style your pieces.

Wear a single Byzantine jewelry inspired statement piece to the area you want to draw attention to. Try long gold earrings with a gemstone crescent to draw attention to your face. Or a detailed gold openwork necklace to emphasize a neckline. And forget about bad hair days when you have a gold Byzantine inspired headpiece.

You can go bold with a variety of gemstone colors or choose just one color. Your little black dress or white t-shirt and jeans would look great with the colorful gemstones of Byzantine jewelry. If your outfit already has an eye-catching colour, match a single gemstone jewelry piece to that color or stick to intricate solid gold pieces.

If you feel adventurous enough to wear more than one piece of Byzantine jewelry, create a story. Let pearls be a repeating element or choose pieces with a similar openwork design. There should be a common thread in the jewelry to tie the look together.

In short, Byzantine jewelry is designed to be bold and glamorous. Gold and gemstones are luxury elements that deserve to be the stars in your look. You will feel like a Roman goddess when you layer yourself with Byzantine jewelry speckled in gemstones and gold. Feel free to experiment with gold openwork designs and find colorful engravings with depictions that speak to you. If you are interested in different jewelry designs or need specific tips on styling your favorite pieces, browse on. Our articles are made to give you jewelry inspiration. To view more of our Byzantine necklaces, visit Ana Luisa online jewelry shop.

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Ruxandra is a fashion blogger who teaches fashion stumped twenty to thirty somethings how to shop their jewelry boxes for polished new ensembles. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Fashionista, Nylon, and Refinery29.