Variations in style and fabrication occurred naturally as jewelry became an object of trade. As a result of trade, also, cultural symbolism changed drastically as elements of symbolism from various cultures became integrated in design. Likewise, as metal working techniques evolved, jewelry fabrication became more intricate. As a result of this, smaller items such as earrings and other pieces that required delicate fabrication methods became increasingly popular.
The oral tradition played a significant role in the evolution of jewelry making and design. Roman and Greek jewelry, for instance, often represented legends, deities and other popular cultural beliefs. Interestingly, unlike other cultures, the Greek and Romans did not assign mystical powers to gemstones. Metals were the predominant material.
The Cameo finds its origins in ancient Greek and Roman jewelry making techniques. It consisted in a piece of stone that was carved to represent a god or leader. For a long time, by law, Alexander the Great (4th century BC) was the only leader whose portrait could be carved and incorporated in jewelry making.
To be continued…
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