Jewelery History - I (Sumerians, Egyptians, Aegean Civilizations, Phoenician)

We believe that the jewellery that we use today as a part that sometimes complements our status, decor and elegance, will try to understand the history of humanity and try to understand the view of art and aesthetics. We will mention on summary of Sumerians, Egyptians, Aegean Civilizations, Phoenician, and Etruscan civilization and in second part of this article, we will speak of Ancient Greek and Rome in terms of their history of jewellery.

Before the discovery of precious metals, pearls, fish skeletons, teeth, and colored pebbles that people removed from the sea were easier to use for coastal civilizations. These situations were very effective when moving from nomadism to settled order. People began to their settlements became water resources, it became easier for them to come across gold and precious stones. 

After gold was found and processed, it was used as a status after being presented as a gift to the rulers.  As metal extraction and processing techniques evolved, the tools indicating the decoration, protection and status used became even more complex.

Precious stones used in tombs to respect the dead and it began to differentiate and become personal. These jewelry, obtained from limited sources, continued to be processed to fit all parts of the body. This process that started with embellishing kings, crown, ruling seat, buckle, comb, earring, nose ring, lip ring, brooch, corset, belt, watch strap... etc. These jewels buried with their owners were buried to accompany them in the next world. Here the jewels obtained in archaeological studies come from these tombs. In addition, it has been observed that plastic and precious jewels are used in works such as painting, sculpture, and mosaic.


The tomb of Puabi, the queen of the Sumerians, is at the top of the ancient jewelry samples. BC in the city of Ur, in the cellar, the upper part of the body was made of silver, lapis lazuli, agate, agate, while in other parts there are amulets, crowns and gold with flower figures. These uses give important clues for jewelry in these years

            Queen Paubi's crown and necklace (Image Source:


The legendary mausoleum of Tutankamun (1341-1323 BC) is on display today in the Cairo Museum. It is considered the largest jewelry store in the world. The innermost coffin in this cemetery is completely covered with gold and the mummy is big gold. Diadems, necklaces, pectorals, amulets, necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings are of superior quality and have a high degree of refinement, which is rarely exceeded or even equal in the history of jewelry. The use of gold in Egyptian jewelry is dominant and is usually complemented by the use of tricolor carnelian, turquoise and lapis lazuli or glassy pastes that mimic them. Although there are a number of rather limited decorative motif repertoires in all Egyptian jewelry, artist craftsmen created a wide variety of compositions on rhythmic repetition of shapes and colors, mainly in jewelry made of strict symmetry or beads.

                     Tomb of King Tutankamun (Image Source:


The Minoan Civilization was the transit point for important trade routes and their wealth was increasing due to these trade. He emphasized the importance of Minoan Civilization in terms of jewelery history with its aesthetic value and gold business. and jewels of this value were first imitated and developed by other civilizations. Peloponnese, Mycenae and other Greek islands followed this aesthetic development. By creating clothes, crowns and gold necklaces; pomegranate, half-moon, female breast tightening hand, history, lotus flowers are frequently encountered. By creating clothes, crowns and gold necklaces; pomegranate, half-moon, female breast tightening hand, history, lotus flowers are frequently encountered.

 Bees surrounding the sun - Minos Gold Necklace (Image Source:


It was a great place for both trade and production. It was transferred to places such as Spain, Italy, Sardinia and North Africa as it is a trade transit route. It has been imitated in Greece and Italy in the Mediterranean countries. Especially in the period known as Orientalism Period, it became famous for animal motifs and was imitated in Italy and Greek Islands.

 A golden necklace from the Phoenician  (Image Source: openedition.journals)


They made the greatest contributions to history in terms of jewelry by developing the gold motifs they received from Fenike. They had an entirely new concept in which the goals of greatness, impressive size and a great wealth of decoration led to some of the most important achievements in the history of jewelry. Like ornaments such as necklaces and needle heads, fibulae are often decorated with gold dust of opaque grained figures like mountain goats, chimeras, sphinxes, winged lions, centaurs, horsemen and warriors, almost all southwest Asian derivatives come to the fore.


A golden necklace from the Phoenicians (Image Source: openedition.journals)


 Britannica “Jewelley”

Victoria and Albert Museum

History of Jewellery

Britannica “history of Jewellery design ”

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