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An ornamental band in the form of naturalistic or stylized leaves, worn on the head on festive occasions or by victors at the ancient games. Early Greek examples, from the Classical period, c. 475 BC - 330 BC, were made of gold, silver, gold-plated metal or gilded wood, and simulated the leaves of myrtle, oak, olive or ivy (see also: floral symbolism).
Such wreaths were also an article of Etruscan jewelry; they were awarded as prizes, worn in processions, dedicated in sanctuaries, and buried with the dead. They were also made in Byzantium, and worn there on festive occasions, especially at weddings when the bride and the groom wore them, mingled with real flowers, as crowns, returning them later (as in some Scandinavian countries today) to the owning church.
Roman examples featured stylized leaves. In the Middle Ages young women wore a wreath of gold; it was a forerunner of the chaplet.
From: An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry, autor: Harold Newman, publishers: Thames and Hudson