Following the trends set by the Romans, Byzantine jewellery became a continuation of Roman jewellery traditions. As in many other cultures throughout Antiquity, Byzantine jewellery acted not only as an embellishment, but most importantly as a direct display of someone’s wealth and social status. Byzantine rings were often engraved with religious images and served as personal, miniature icons. Crosses feature on this piece; other typical representations included the Corpus Christi, archangels, saints, and the Virgin Mary with Child.
The Fleur-de-Lis has been a symbol of purity since antiquity, often associated with the Virgin Mary in religious contexts. In Byzantine art, the lily is seen decorating the robes of Constantine and Justinian, as well as incorporated in the decorations of the throne of the Virgin Mary in the Hagia Sophia.
To discover more about Byzantine jewellery, please visit our relevant blog post: The Byzantine Empire, Art and Christianity.