As in many ancient societies, jewellery was an important social marker used to demonstrate wealth. Following the spread of the Roman Empire, Roman jewellery became more and more elaborate in the designs and in the materials used, such as precious and semi-precious gemstones. Roman jewellery reflected the culture the Romans entered in contact with, and testified the prosperity and the power of the Roman Empire. Animals were also favoured decorative motives, either associated with specific deities or myths, or as popular domestic animals. In Roman religion, birds were important animals connected with the method of divination which involved the observation of their flights. This was practiced by the augures and the signs they interpreted were called auspicia. Decorative motives featuring birds became extremely popular on ceremonial, everyday artefacts and jewellery.
For more information about the meanings of animals in Roman art, see our relevant blog post: Animal Symbolism in Roman Art.