Byzantine jewellery was a continuation of Roman traditions. As in many other cultures throughout history, Byzantine jewellery acted not only as an embellishment, but most importantly as a direct display of someone’s wealth and social status. Gold especially was the favoured medium, which was finely and elaborately worked into beautiful jewellery pieces, such as this striking pendant. Christian religion was very much at the heart of Byzantine culture, politically, socially and artistically. It was an empire run as a theocracy, ruled by God working through the Emperor, and political ideals were largely informed by Christian values. This permeated visual culture as well, not only in terms of art that was explicitly religious in its purpose. With Christian religion becoming the primary religion across the Byzantine Empire, Christian iconography became an extremely popular decorative motif displayed on many smaller decorative items and wares.
To discover more about Byzantine jewellery, please visit our relevant blog post: The Byzantine Empire, Art and Christianity.