Ancient Greek Jewelry
Ancient Greek jewelry (also spelled jewellery) includes the period from 1400 BC to 31 BC. It encompasses
the Early Mycenaean Age, the Minoan period, the Classical Greek period and the Hellenistic period of Greek
culture. A lot of the information we have today about jewelry from this period in Greece is from jewels and replicas
that were found in graves and tombs. Jewelry was placed in the tomb with the thought that it would travel
to the afterlife with the owner. We can see notable changes in jewelry throughout ancient Greek history in
the materials used, the expense and the intricacy and design. Jewelry was not only popular among the
Greeks, but so beautifully made that other cultures throughout Europe tried to replicate its simplistic
design and naturalistic beauty.
For additional information on this ancient civilization visit
Ancient Greece Facts
Ancient Minoan Jewelry
Minoan artists were known for producing intricate metal pieces out of imported gold and silver. They would
adhere small beads of gold and gold wire (called granulation) onto cast jewelry including rings and
pendants, often in the shape of flowers. The techniques of these metallurgists were acquired from as near
as the mainland and as far as Syria and Egypt. Minoan jewelry often depicts animals and nature including
typical engraved motifs of birds, insects, sea life, and lions.
Ancient Mycenaean Jewelry
Easy access to gold was the reason for its burst in popularity during this time period. Minoan artisans
crafted very intricate designs of flowers, humans, religious scenes, spiral shapes, and beetles out of gold sheets
and stones. The artisans would have to master their skills with years of apprentice work in the
painstaking process of detailed engravings. The period of the "Greek Dark Ages" arose around 1100 BC as
the Mycenaean civilization mysteriously disappeared very suddenly and for about 200 years very little
jewelry was created.
Classical Greek Period Jewelry
Also known as the "Golden Age", this period saw an end to granulation and a surgance in refined and more
feminine pieces. Artisans maintained the quality of their work but did not make any significant
advancements during this time. Filigree rose in popularity as did miniature sculpting. Rosettes were a
common motif as were flowers and tassels. Elaborate wreath designs emerged, stones and engravings were
added to finger rings, intricate necklaces were created, and bracelets were designed as complete circles
with decorative designs.
Hellenistic Period Jewelry
Gemstones of vibrant colors, both precious and semi-precious, were being used as focal points in all types
of gold ancient Greek jewelry during this time. Elaborate earrings, bracelets, necklaces, pendants, pins, rings, hair bands and ornaments would all be likely to contain either amethyst, garnet, pearls, chalcedony, carnelian, ruby. In some cases a glass paste was used in place of an expensive stone to create a similar look for less
money. New styles of motifs also appeared such as the gods Eros and Nike, doves, and the crescent design
originally from Western Asia. New jewelry forms such as hoop earring were Jewelry during this time was
often either passed down through the generations or offered to the gods.