It is hard to find an art work without Greek roots. The same applies to jewelry.
Their designs were amazing and breath-taking. They rocked their tiaras and their headbands. Their women looked marvelous in those arm and thigh bands, which were all mostly made of gold. Many designers derive their works from old Greek inspirations.
The Greeks first made their jewelry using animal teeth, sea shells, fruit seeds, and other natural elements that were not hard to find or expensive to process. Then the bronze age started and they knew how to melt and shape metals, such as bronze, silver, and gold.
At the beginning of the new trend, not everyone was allowed to wear jewelry. It was considered as a symbol of power and social status. It was made strictly for kings and noble people. It was also believed to have magical powers that wards off evil. Later on it carried a religious aspect, and was offered as grants to gods and worn as celebrations of gods.
The Greeks learnt how to make gold jewelry from Egypt and Syria. However, they maintained their unique style and rich designs.
During the Greek Mycenaean Era, gold was popular as a decorative element. The artists of this era used nature as their inspiration. They used granules and wires of gold to decorate cast jewelry and create shapes of animals, insects, trees, flowers,and fish. They made pendants and rings, and later on their skill developed and they created detailed designs of humans, animals, and even religious scenes on gold sheets and stones.
Unfortunately, the lovely craft came to a temporary end around 1100 BC, when the era of the Greek dark ages arrived. A very little production of gold jewelry was produced, and mostly none of it lived to reach us today.
The dark ages came to an end and the craft of making jewelry was revived again.
In the Golden age of Greece, the jewel making technology was highly advanced. The use of granulation as a jewel making method came to an end, and was replaced by the usage of molds and thin leafs of gold.
The era witnessed the manufacture of wreathes, complete circle bracelets, engraved rings, and the usage of gemstones, such as emeralds, pearls, amethysts, and other precious stones.
At the time when Alexander the Great was in charge, the Hellenic period, gold reached the peak of its popularity. Alexander the Great brought oriental influences to the designs. Almost all types of jewelry contained precious and semi-precious gems, like: earrings, necklaces, pins, pendants, hair bands.
They were all colorful and vivid. During that time, more people were able and allowed to wear jewelry, so a glass paste was used in place of expensive stones to create a similar look for less money. Also, new designs appeared, such as the shapes of gods, doves, and the crescent design from western Asia.
These jewels were found in tombs and graves, as they believed that a dead person would need his jewelry in the afterlife. That is why some of the jewelry is made with themes referring to the afterlife.