It’s not true that jewelry over 200 years old is all in museums. You might be surprised to discover that there is a lot of pre-Georgian jewelry out there, just waiting for you to come and give it a new home.
Just think about wearing a gold ring or pair of earrings that was made over 2000 years ago! It is mind-boggling to consider the generations of people who wore them. They looked after them well, they loved them. Who were these people? Where and how did they live? Wearing jewelry of this age gives us a sense of the continuity of humankind. We are a mere link in the chain that started before us and will go on after our great great grandchildren inherit from us. It is at once humbling to consider our role in the bigger scheme of things and yet we can be very proud that we are helping to maintain the links in the chain.
Jewelry worn by ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks and Romans are available and they are available at surprisingly reasonable prices. Much of this ancient jewelry relates to the gods and mythology of the time. Some of it is merely decorative. Whatever the case, there is something almost mystical about sharing your jewelry with so many generations.
Jewelry from the Byzantine and Medieval periods is often more directly religious when it comes from Europe. We enjoy hunting for ancient crosses that can be worn on a chain today and enjoyed as they were over 1000 years ago. They are often more interesting than anything churned out en masse today. Consider the prayers and sentiments spent on your pendant by the preceding 30 generations. It warms the heart, regardless of your religion.
Unfortunately, a lot of the jewelry made after this, especially during the Renaissance period, was melted. Wars emptied the coffers of the richest nations and even kings and emperors had to melt jewelry to cover their debts. There is very little jewelry remaining from this part of the period, but fortunately, we can learn a lot from paintings done at the time. As always, we are seeing only the rich and famous – people who could afford to have themselves immortalized in art. What about their servants? Did they wear jewelry? Perhaps we will never know.
That is the fun of collecting antique jewelry. We are constantly trying to learn more about it and we are constantly faced with the mystery of the unknown. I hope you will enjoy the ancient and less ancient items on my website and have as much fun with them as I do.