Sunday, October 27, 2013

Jewelry Through the Ages - Ancient Sumer

Beads are one of the most common artifacts found in excavations of prehistoric villages in Western Asia. Presumably, they were used for the same range of decorative purposes as they are today; for jewelry and for sewing onto clothing.

The examples below were found in a royal grave in the Sumerian city of Ur, the southern region of modern Iraq, and date around 2500 BC.

The main materials used for Sumerian jewelry were gold, silver, lapis lazuli and carnelian. These elements were imported from other places, most likely Iran, Turkey and Afghanistan, as none of them were available locally.

The Sumerians took great care to alternate and balance the different colours of stone and metal in their designs. The jewelry worn by the women of privilege would have included head-dresses of golden flowers and foliage, large crescent shaped earrings, chokers around the neck, and long loose necklaces, as well as, dress pins to fasten their clothing.

Sumerian necklaces and headgear discovered in the royal graves,
showing the way they may have been worn,
on display at the British Museum

Many of the motifs they used are quite popular today: spirals, flowers and leaves. As with fashion clothing designs, old is new again.


  1. I really do like the look of some of the old jewelry

  2. beautiful jewellery, amazing to think that these were made 4500 years ago!

  3. Beautiful jewellery, amazing to think they were made some 4500 years ago!!!