Byzantine jewellery was a continuation of Roman traditions. As in many other cultures throughout history, Byzantine jewellery acted not only as an embellishment, but most importantly as a direct display of someone’s wealth and social status. Interestingly, it also acted as a diplomatic tool. The earring with composite pendant was the most common type of ear ornament during the Byzantine Empire. This type consists of a hoop to which is attached a small ring holding a single pendant, with the basic scheme allowing certain variations of detail. Precious stones or glass bead may be mounted in box-settings of square, rectangular, or circular shape. We know from literary sources that the production of precious metalwork and jewellery in Imperial workshops was controlled by the Imperial treasury, or officinum, which supervised the Imperial factories that made precious metalwork.
To discover more about jewellery in Ancient Times, please visit our relevant blog post: Jewellery in Antiquity.