Byzantine style

Period: 395-1453

Main features:

  • Massiveness, opulence, mixture of materials and techniques; detailed color images
  • Antique, later Christian themes.
  • geometrical ornamentation: spirals, palmettes, swastikas and meanderings are based on a combination of the cross, square and circle; the elements are filled with Christian symbolism;
  • Mythological motifs: the Tree of Life, lily, laurel wreath, griffin, dove, fish, sheep, Phoenix and Syrin birds, double-headed eagle;
  • depictions of saints, animals, plants
  • Techniques: filigree, bone and gemstone carving, casting, embossing, nielloing, enamel, pearl and gemstone inlay;

Byzantine art adopted ancient features and came under the influence of Mesopotamia and Egypt. But with the adoption of Christianity it acquired its own style.

The flowering of the Byzantine Empire in 527-565 gave it back its status as the most powerful Mediterranean state. Constantinople was for a long time the largest and richest city, the center of trade and culture. The amount of jewelry was so great that they began to create special caskets, often made of carved ivory, to store them. Stylistically they repeated fragments of the architecture of the capital.

Clothes and accessories turned into jewelry: long closed capes with embroidery, massive headdresses. Earrings increase so much that they are attached to the tiara as pendants over the ears.

Characteristic decorations of the period: cameos and cabochons as separate decorations (brooches, rings), and were part of the decoration of clothes; crosses (not only symbols of Christian faith, but also objects of jewelry), fibulas with pearls, stones and enamel on gold; massive shoulder necklaces (as part of clothes a separate decoration); open-type crowns.

Celtic style

Period: 7th to 1st century B.C.

Main features:

  • Geometric ornaments, straight lines and triangles not joined together in a dense ligature covering the piece;
  • Stone and metal faces and heads of people and birds; images in the form of masks, sometimes topped with a two-leaf crown and an accompanying motif of so-called “fish bubbles”; relief plant patterns (leaf-like palmettes, curls, lotus flowers; later they appear in combined drawings as the letter S, forming various lyre-like patterns)
  • Mixing plant, animal, geometric motifs together;
  • techniques: enamel inlay (red enamel is especially popular); embossing; engraving, inlay with natural stones, often coral;

The Celts were the tribes of Western and Central Europe. They were united by their material culture, language, and traditions, but not by a single power.

Celtic art borrowed heavily from the Thracian and Iberian tribes. Influences can also be traced from the ancient Greek, Scythian and Etruscan cultures. But borrowings look in a new way in Celtic products thanks to the specific ornaments.

These patterns with plant motifs are easy to recognize. They have a curious detail – continuity. It represents the connection with nature and the cosmos, the cycle of life and energy. Nature and spiritual beliefs are the main themes for decorating.

Celtic jewelry was not just a marker of social status. Much more important were the practical qualities of the object and its sacred meaning. As in other cultures, jewelry was an amulet. The form, decoration and material were important. For example, rare gold was used by the strong of spirit. Because of its luster and color, it was associated with the sun and life force.

Few pieces of Celtic jewelry have survived to this day. Over time, gold and silver jewelry spread around the world, were lost and went into meltdown. Ornaments made of other materials – wood, leather, cloth, iron – simply have not survived.

Characteristic decorations of the period include: bronze head hoops; bronze fibulae or brooches with safety clasps – used for fastening cloaks; glass and amber necklaces and bracelets; the neck mane “torc” (a flexible necklace in the form of a hoop (less often rings), fibulae in the form of stylized human and bird masks. Rings were very atypical jewelry for the Celts.

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