Being able to recognize style in jewelry is a useful skill. It helps identify provenance and value, and identify cultural connections.

Let’s start with the basics. What is style? Style is a set of specific attributes to characterize things. “Carriers of style” can be composition, a system of images, ideas. And jewelry, which is so interesting to us!

In this material we will tell only about European styles and those that directly influenced them.

Etruscan Style

Period: 9th-2nd century BC.

Main features:

  • Patterns in the form of zigzags, triangles, swastikas. Later more complex sacral emblems entered the repertoire: solar disk, crescent, amphora, mascaroon.
  • Techniques: filigree, engraving, glyptics, granulation (graining), embossing. Often there is granulation in concentric patterns.
  • Among the ornamental stones, carnelian was preferred

The Etruscans were an ancient civilization of the Apennine peninsula. The art of the big cities reflected the culture of the Middle East, the Syrian and Phoenician coastal regions, Mesopotamia and Asia Minor. This was facilitated by direct commercial contacts with the eastern Mediterranean.

The civilization of Etruria reached its peak of development from the 7th to the 5th century BC. The best Etruscan jewelry was created during this time. Craftsmen most of all excelled in the technique of granulation. Scientists have not yet been able to discover the secret of their skillful jewelry. The jewelers were able to decorate the surface with thousands of tiny gold pellets without soldering and without breaking the shape.

Gold was an expensive metal for Etruria. It was used very carefully and in delicate – literally – work. Sheet gold was about 0.1 mm thick. Gold plating was often used for bronzes. In spite of this, the nobles were buried in luxurious precious jewelry. It is not excluded that the deceased might not even have worn posthumous jewelry or allowed himself to do so before death.

There is opulence, quality and variety in Etruscan jewelry.

Enameling in jewelry came under the influence of Greek culture after the 7th century B.C. The Etruscans loved color, so faience, colored gemstones and glass beads often adorned their work. In the same period, lotus flowers, pomegranates, palm trees, and acorns appeared among the decorative elements.

The political and economic situation of the Etruscans deteriorated after the 3rd century BC. The Celts attacked from the north and the Italians from the south. This was reflected in the decorations. They were limited to small fragile articles of gold with simple embossing. Filigree and granulation began to be used less frequently.

Characteristic ornaments for the Etruscans: bulla, fibula, wreath, necklace, pectoral

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