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For most of Byzantium's history, Christianity was the official state religion, but Greek and Roman beliefs influenced Byzantine culture, including with iconography in art and on jewelry Byzantine jewelry, particularly the pieces worn by Byzantine royalty, played an important symbolic role in the empire Within Byzantium's 1000 year history, art historians often identify two "Golden ages" The first golden age covered the earliest centuries of the empire, when classical Roman and Greek themes heavily influenced Byzantine art and culture, including jewelry.
Jewelry for Byzantine royals and their close associates was both sumptuous and symbolic According to Melanie Holcomb, Byzantine ceremonial crowns "Carried a curse of death for those who wore them without the Patriarch's permission." Only the best artisans in the court workshop crafted royal jewelry for the Byzantine Imperial family When Byzantine emperor Constantine IX Monomachos presented gifts to the caliph al-Mustansir, he and Empress Zoe also presented five chests of gold jewelry to the ruler's mother.
If you feel inspired to add the Byzantine feel to your own jewelry collection, the Museum of Jewelry has some beautiful options inspired by the sumptuous elegance of Byzantine jewelry. . More
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