The British Museum Jewelry – a zoom on selected exhibits in the collection
Neo-Classical Intaglios – a technique in which an image is created by cutting, carving or engraving into a flat surface used in these exhibits was borrowed from antiquity. Reinvented in Renaissance and the 18th and 19th centuries when efforts were made to revive the ancient techniques. Superb examples of Neo-Classical gem engraving belonged to a famous Polish collector Prince Poniatowski.
Greek revivalist jewelry examples, references to Ancient Greece, Etruscan and Egyptian cultures.
Sun-God Helios brooch, Medusa cameos, beading, scarab and laurel leaves pendants, caduceus fibulas (symbol of peace and commerce, associated with god Hermes and today with medicine), glass mosaic borders, woven bracelets, enamelled gold, jasper intaglios are all examples of the mastery and virtuosity of Italian revivalist jewellers. Most of the above pieces are from the second half of 19th century.
Gold cape originated in the times of the Bronze Age, about 1900-1600 BC. It was discovered in 1833 on the remains of a skeleton in a stone-lined grave. The cape is unique, so its owner must have been someone of high status. Wearing it would severely restricted movement of the upper arms and it was probably only used ceremonially.
Gold lunula and gold armlets. A distinctive csescent-shaped ornament dates back to the early Bronze Age, about 2400-200 BC. Lunulae could have served as a sign of rank, or been used during ceremonial occasions. Gold armlets were found in an excavation of a small pit on the edge of a burial mound. Many of these precious objects were buried with their owners.