Roman Influence: Byzantium Jewelry Collection

Influenced by Roman traditions, the jewelry from the Byzantine Empire played an important role toward the expression of social status and wealth. With an abundance of successful trade and available wealth. In the late 520s AD, the emperor Justinian established a law whereby only the emperor could legally wear sapphires, emeralds and pearls; leaving gold and other precious stones to be worn by the public. This lead to colorful rich detail in jewelry from the extensive use of precious stones not governed by the emperor. Gold metalwork, richly colored cabochons made from other fine stones, and Christian symbolism were iconic aspects of Byzantine-era jewelry.

The Napier Co. in 1990 offered the “Byzantium” collection. The Limited Edition collection embodied the rich detail of Byzantine jewelry right down to the collet-style settings known to be characteristic of jewelry from this era.

In 529 AD Emperor Justinian ruled that only emperors could wear jewelry made of sapphire, emeralds and pearls.

In 529 AD Emperor Justinian ruled that only emperors could wear jewelry made of sapphire, emeralds and pearls. Brooch, 1990, white metal, cast, gold-plated, hard resin. Measures 2 7/8″ × 2 7/8″ w. Marked Napier ©. F90. $95.00–$125.00. “Byzantium” collection.

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