THANKSGIVING HAS US HARKENING BACK TO COLONIAL TIMES AND THE NATIVE AMERICANS AND PILGRIMS COMING TOGETHER AT THE TABLE. DID YOU EVER WONDER WHAT JEWELRY THEY MIGHT HAVE WORN?
TALISMANIC OR HEALING JEWELERY & GEMS
During this period, there were also strong beliefs or superstitions surrounding the magical healing power of certain types of jewelry items such as the “toadstone ring” or “talismanic ring,” as well as the belief in the curative power of certain gemstones and precious metals. The belief in the medicinal power of gemstones dates back to the Middle Ages, ancient Greece, Rome and beyond, and it was commonly accepted that gems could heal every manner of illness, from the plague, epilepsy, leprosy and blindness to a simple headache, toothache or impotence.
It was also believed that talismanic rings were an antidote for poison, for a lover’s betrayal, or to ward off evil such as the envious “evil eye” of a jealous neighbor or peer. Animal symbols such as the dragon, serpent or toad, and ancient deities such as the winged god Mercury were considered to be “talismanic,” bringing good fortune to the wearer.
JEWELS OF THE PERSIANS, INDIANS, AZTEC & INCAS
Thanks to the maritime technological advances of the English and Portuguese navies, exploration, and the ensuing plunder of indigenous cultures, led to an explosion of available materials from exotic lands. Exotic gems and diamonds from India and the Far East, as well as gold and emeralds from Central and South America began to flood into Europe during the 16th century, dramatically increasing the opulence of the ruling class.
Between the 1500s and 1600s the treasuries of Austria, England, Portugal and Spain filled with diamonds and gems from around the globe. On such gem, the Wittelsbach http://famousdiamonds.tripod.com/wittelsbachdiamond.html
diamond was a 35.56 carat, cushion-cut grayish-blue Indian diamond that was owned by Infanta Margarita Teresa, daughter of King Philip IV of Spain, and wife to Leopold I of Austria. This ultra-rare Type II diamond recently sold at a Christie’s auction for a record price of US $24.3 million.
Every conceivable combination of materials was employed in Renaissance jewelry. One of the favorite “canvases” for the Renaissance goldsmith was the pendant, which could be as extravagant as one could imagine, without overwhelming the wearer with the burden of weight. Motifs range from whimsical designs featuring iconic images of masted sailing ships, Biblical and mythological icons, and Greco-Roman motifs.
Sunbijoux.com, April 30, 2010
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON COLONIAL JEWELRY PLEASE CHECK THIS SITE.