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jewelry glossary

Antique jewelry glossary

Welcome to our extensive antique jewelry glossary with around 1,500 jewelry related entries.If you feel you are missing an explanation, feel free to let us know and we will add it.

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Hellenistic jewelry

Articles of jewelry from Greece produced during the Hellenistic Age, from c. 323 BC (the death of Alexander the Great and the end of the Classical period) until c. 27 BC (the time of the Roman conquest of Greece) and some centuries thereafter when the Greek culture was absorbed in styles of Roman jewelry.

Hellenistic culture was influenced by that of the various lands conquered by Alexander the Great, and jewelry styles in particular underwent changes. Owing to the greater availability of gold, jewelry became plentiful, and was characterized by three principal new features:

  • The use of new motifs, e.g. the Heracles knot (reef knot), jars, birds, the crescent imported into Greece, and the indigenous figure of Eros.
  • The use of new techniques, e.g. dipped enamelling and the lavish use of coloured gemstones and glass as inlays, all combined in the so-called 'polychrome style'.
  • The introduction of new forms, e.g. earrings with suspended animal and human-head ornaments, diadems and bracelets with the Heracles knot and later with relief and filigree decoration, and finger rings with an oval bezel set with a gemstone or a cameo.

From: An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry, autor: Harold Newman, publishers: Thames and Hudson

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