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. Interestingly, it also acted as a diplomatic tool. Gold is the elected metal for Byzantine jewellery production and precious stones or glass bead may be mounted in box-settings of square, rectangular, or circular shape, such as the case of this beautiful pendant. We know from literary sources that the production of precious metalwork and jewellery in Imperial workshops was controlled by the Imperial treasury, or officinum, which supervised the Imperial factories that made precious metalwork.
To discover more about Byzantine jewellery, please visit our relevant blog post: The Byzantine Empire: Art and Christianity.