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Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The Dark World of Ancient Jewelry

There are many ancient scripts that declare the Middle Ages as being the “Dark Ages”,a time when the world was dark and stagnant, when the church ruled all manner of education and all those who stood against the dogmas of that time were persecuted or killed. No significant art, innovation, jewelry, or literature was said to come from that time for decades. Now we know differently.

We first take a look at the Germanic tribes. Their technical abilities and ornate tastes were very familiar to those of neighboring Rome. Bold and ornate jewelry pieces came from these people. Later, when they became subject to Christian rule, we can see a Byzantine influence in their artwork. The complex work started to show the signs and insignias of the Christian church rather than the symbols of individual tribes.

Goldsmiths from Islamic and Arabic parts of the world were putting their own stamps on jewelry and other decorative pieces. The techniques and strong use of filigree is plainly seen on pieces that have survived until today. Cairo was the epicenter for Arabic jewelry and Islamic trade during that “Dark” time.

Gothic jewelry is by far the most prominent work from the Dark Ages. Pointed and jagged angles were being used. Heavy, ornately designed surfaces were covered with elaborate enamel work and darkly colored gems. The inlays and motifs from ancient pieces still motivate creative artisans today and we see incredible replicas inspired from that time.

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