Phoenicians and their jewelry

A photo of an ancient filigreed ring, Greek 1st century BC

Museum of Art
Rhode Island School of Design
Gift of Ostby and Barton, in memory of Englehardt Cornelius Ostby
Photography by Erik Gould

These Mediterranean and far east traders borrowed many of their ideas from those with whom they did business. In design, their jewelry loosely followed the patterns set in Egypt and Babylon. For this reason, their originality in the world of jewelry can be found in only a few areas.

The one area where the Phoenicians showed the most creativity was in the wearing of jewelry. Phoenician ladies pierced their ears along the rim to wear gold rings with drop-shaped pendants. Earrings were not the only objects that were worn in profusion. Women were ornamented by dozens of necklaces and rings were placed on each joint of every finger.

Their one original practice developed that influenced future jewelry making was their use of gold granulation. This is the method of designing metal with the placement of small gold beads. The Phoenicians elaborated on this procedure to make some of the finest gold filigree to ancient times.



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