Ancient civilisations hold fascination for many peopletoday. There were aspects of these societies that were extremely advanced andour forefathers lives were of course the roots of many of our lifestyle habitstoday. When it comes to jewellery, whether this is silver jewelery or goldjewellery, there is so much amazing evidence and history of it across thesegreat ancient civilisations. The Greeks for example had started using gold andgems around 1400 B.C. But before this they had been skilled at making jewelleryfrom animals and shells. Today if you travel to Greece you will see a multitudeof jewellery shops with ranges of silver bracelets, rings, necklaces and goldjewellery that has a special quality about it. What is also apparent is thatthe ancient superstitions can still be seen today in some jewellery designs. Inancient times the Greeks wore jewellery on special occasions and it was wornpredominantly by women. By around 300 B.C they had become masters in simple butcolourful jewellery using pearls, amethysts and emeralds especially. Theirjewellery at this stage was more straightforward than other cultures and therewere also signs of cameos around this time which were created from IndianSardonyx, which is a striped pink, cream and brown agate stone. As theirworkmanship progressed designs became more elaborate.
Jewellery was often expected to protect the wearers from theEvil Eye or even give the wearer supernatural powers. Of course apart from thislike other societies it was worn as a sign of wealth, beauty and status. TheEvil Eye however was a belief that the envy elicited by the good luck offortunate people could results in their misfortune. Apart from wearingjewellery to protect themselves the Greeks had other rituals to ward off the EvilEye. A healer would cast it away by silently reciting a prayer which would havebeen passed over from normally a grandparent of the opposite sex! The traditionsays that if the person is afflicted with the Evil Eye both themselves and thehealer will start yawning profusely. If this is the case the healer will thendo the sign of the cross three times and also spits in the air three times. TheGreeks had another test to check the Evil Eye which was by using olive oil.Normally olive oil will float in water, and in this test one drop of oil isplaced in a glass of holy water and if the drop floats there is no Evil Eye.However if it sinks that there is and the ritual must be performed.
Apart from this belief there were older pieces of jewellerythat have been found were dedicated to the Gods. The largest production ofjewellery in these times came from Northern Greece and Macedonia. Another aspect of Greek belief that has been integrated into their jewelleryright up until the present day is the Owl. The Owl is considered very importantas The Owl of Wisdom. There are museum reproductions which show us thecombination of the owl and also the olive branch in Greek Jewellery two oftheir most important symbols side by side - wisdom and peace.
In Greece today another symbol carried through on theirsilver bracelets, rings and necklaces is the meander, which is the greek keyand this symbolises the eternal flow of things. They certainly do not lack insymbolism!
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