Jewelry is an enthralling fashion ornament that has been popular from prehistoric times. It has played a diversity of roles including religious, political and ornamental, and jewelry artifacts have helped contemporary historians shape pictures of the regular lives of ancient civilizations. There are pictorial depiction and literary accounts, plus a profusion of other artifacts available in Sadigh Gallery that help individuals to understand the role jewelry played during this enthralling time.
Jewelry was worn by women and men though it was subject to principles of the time; predominantly with regards to the look of men. Male jewelry was usually practical in nature. Men generally wore a single ring. The ring would serve a practical purpose. Usually a signet ring, the male jewelry item was used to seal official certification. The male signet ring was originally iron element but was later produced in gold as it displayed wealth and status more clearly.
Other practical uses of the signet ring included the inlay being a type of key for a strong box. Literary evidence suggests that propriety regarding male jewelry was ignored by a minority of fashion fanatics, as with any other social group. Trends and attitudes also changed from the time of Emperor Augustus. The emperors were established with official state clothing during his reign which included jewelry as a display of status and power and some of them can be seen in Sadigh Gallery.
Jewelry also had a defensive function in ancient countries. Boys wore an item of jewelry identified as a bullah. This was worn from being an infant. It was a form of chain with a pouch which contained an amulet and was worn around the neck. This was a jewelry piece worn by most classes, but the rich aristocratic class had bullahs made of gold. The amulet was frequently phallic in design, as boys were considered to be the stronger group and so needed fortification. Another jewelry piece worn by boys was a diminutive gold ring which was again carved with a phallus for good luck.
With regards to women, jewelry was first and primary a display of status and wealth. Women had no apparent status dissimilarity through their dress men. Hence, jewelry and hairstyles were the only difference possible. The amount and type of jewelry worn by women varied, but the richest women were the most glitzy in terms of style and amount. Amber jewelry was only worn by lower class women and was thought offensive by the wealthy who favored gold jewelry. Other items used to make jewelry include colored glass beads, pearls and polished stones. These would be inset in gold and would vary in style and size, depending upon position. It was probable to tell a lot about a woman in ancient time by the jewelry she wore.
The kinds of jewelry worn include necklaces with adornments such as amulets, pendants. Even gold thread hairnets have been revealed. Earrings were in style and came in both drop and hoop styles. Rings were usually inset with carvings or stones.