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A Glimpse of the Medieval Jewelry

From the start of the middle-age to the renaissance period, medieval jewelry was a much-cherished fashion embellishment for everyone. Ornaments have been worn since old times and have consistently impacted style even in the Dark Ages.

Even when the whole era was drowned in the darkness, jewelry played an important role.
Referred to as the Middle Ages or Dark Ages, the Medieval period started with the fall of the Roman Empire and stretched until the start of the Renaissance.

During this period, most fine jewelry pieces became restricted to sovereignty, supremacy, honorability, and church. Medieval jewelry turned into a mark of rank, abundance, and status, and ones were criticized for wearing decorations that were not legitimate to their position. While the high societies wore jewels produced using gold and valuable jewelry stones from a gallant degree or more, average citizens wore adornments made using copper and base metals. Indeed, even wealthy individuals who stand to wear gold adornments and valuable diamonds were restricted from wearing them.

Interesting, isn’t it?

But, this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to understand more about Medieval jewelry – let’s deep dive into the know-how from that era.

History of Medieval Jewelry

Early Medieval Rings- Medieval Jewelry
Early Medieval Rings”, by Portable Antiquities Scheme, is licensed under CC BY 2.0

During this period in history and bygone eras, enduring hardship devastated most of Western Europe’s people. The consequence of starvation, wars, and the plague, specifically, in the end, prompted a decrease in the development of jewels. However, the British Isles figured out a way to flaunt a few beautiful pieces of medieval jewelry, despite the undoubted problems which engulfed much of the society.

The jewelry offered was a long way past the typical necklaces and brooches highlighted in middle-age-themed films. Belt clasps, buttons, caps, arm rings, lower leg rings, and various ornaments were routinely styled by the wealthiest individuals.

Metal Used During Medieval Era

Gold was the fundamental material used in Medieval jewelry designs. Many techniques were used to design metal, for example, enamelling, plating and gilding, soldering, inlay, and casting. These skills were primarily directed at enhancing the impression of jewelry. For instance, smouldering was the process adopted to join many sheets of metal to produce a single, more substantial piece.

Jewelry from the Medieval Era

Stones generally used in jewelry during the medieval period were freshwater pearls, amber, jet, and coral. These could be commonly found in Europe, while jewelry stones like emeralds and rubies were imported from outside Europe (those jewels were considered exceptionally significant).

Common Jewelry Layouts During Middle-Age

The medieval jewelry was mainly cut and polished into cabochons with rounded edges because facet-cut rocks were challenging to produce, at least until the end of the middle age, when the gem cutting process began to develop.

Different types of medieval jewelry was utilised during various middle ages periods. For example, round fibulae or brooches were well known in the Carolingian era. These ornaments were generally round and usually embellished with stones and pearls. Different sorts of middle-age adornments, for example, cluster brooches, bracelets, and wheel brooches were used during late medieval times.

What type of Jewelry was worn in Medieval Times?

Not everyone wore jewelry during this era. It wasn’t a norm among ordinary citizens. It was just the Catholic Church and some wealthy, honourable, or imperial individuals who figured out how to protect craftsmanship and adorned jewelry during this time.

Jewel production in Western Europe was somewhat stagnant overall, with the most improvement being made in the British Isles. With that said, if you Google, there are many fine examples of early medieval jewelry created during the Dark Ages. Every piece only has a few things in common – the material.

Materials used for Medieval Jewelry

Authentic medieval jewelry was not just about accessories, wristbands, and clasps, as we are probably aware today. Other individual embellishments include belt clasps, buttons, barrettes, caps, arm rings, lower leg rings, and decorations for weapons. Those extremely rich even had specks of adornments sewn into their pieces of clothing.

Medieval Men’s Jewelry

As patriarchal principles rose in the Middle Ages, men’s medieval jewelry evolved more unique from women’s jewelry. Signet rings were prominent as loyalty markers and achieved more prestige among feuding distinguished families. These jewelry articles also continued the concept of men’s jewelry as mementoes of prosperity and functional items.

Fashion had its origins in men of power. Commerce between Europe and Asia opened up in this era, and with it came the curtain-raiser of rare stones exotic to communities on both sides. From then on, a wide range of medieval jewelry was encrusted into Gold and Silver and sewn into dresses made for honorability and sovereignty.

The coalition between jewelry and the supernatural was still strong in history. Men wore pieces scratched with different markings as charms to avert demonic spirits and gain supernatural powers. The characteristic of a scorpion on a ring, for example, was accepted to give healing to the wearer.

Medieval Women’s Jewelry

Women’s medieval jewelry changed enormously between different middle-age eras. A few periods are known for their delightful jewelry, but, at different times, medieval jewelry was frequently connected directly to dresses being worn-belts, jeweled groups, and studded or weaved garments.

Women also used the girdle for most of this era which was often made of leather or silk and embellished with jewels or adorned with gold and silver. During the 14th century, girdles began to be replaced by hip belts, generally made of metal and worn straight around the hips over the cotehardie. These were adorned with jewelry and were typically made of independent plaques associated with links.

Apart from these, crowns made with thin gold bands or tiny jewels linked together were worn by women over their veils. During the 14th century, women wore them much more significantly, similar to hip belts, and in the 15th century, women began wearing rings more often than men. Their rings were much more delicate than the ones men wore, along with delicate necklaces made of pearls and jewel pendants.


Jewelry in medieval times was moderately elemental and composed of valuable stones during the early bygone eras. In any case, the utilization of silver and gold became famous during the centre and late periods. Additionally, jewelry, like general dressing, came to be related to status symbols during this time. Goldsmiths shaped themselves into societies that were very rich and intense.

This article outlines the kinds of medieval jewelry which is accessible. But, if you want to read more about the history of the ancient castles and estates – you are on the right website! Scroll more to explore information about castles that will blow your mind.

If you liked reading about Medieval Jewelry, you should definitely check our articles on Medieval Siege Weapons, Medieval Shields & Medieval Drinks!

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