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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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See our: iris jewelry.

Iris was the Greek Goddess of the Rainbow, the messenger of Zeus and Hera, and was depicted as "A radiant maiden borne in swift flight on golden wings. Among her duties was that of leading the souls of dead women to the Elysian fields, and as a token of that faith the Greeks planted purple iris on the graves of women, according to Hollingsworth in his Flower Chronicles. Her symbol, the many-colored rainbow - the refraction of sunlight coming through rain - was always seen as a sign of vitality and happiness.

We also use this word for the 'window' of the eye; the colored doorway to the messages that sight brings.

Ancient Egyptians decorated their scepter with an iris, said to represent faith, wisdom and valor. The Romans devoted the iris to their goddess Juno, and used the flowers in ceremonies of purification.

The Iris Florentina (Il Giaggiolo) is the official flower of Florence, Italy, the city named for its flowers at the height of the Roman Empire.

Iris have long been cultivated alongside olive trees in Tuscany. While the purple flowers have a scent of violets, the bulbs of the Iris Florentina supply the local perfume industy.

From the Middle Ages, English and French carried the iris on their coat of arms also called there the flower-de-luce or fleur-de-lys.

See also: flower symbolism

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