Jewellery and gold have gone hand in hand for many thousands of years. Pieces such as solid gold torques, beaten gold masks and gold rings formed a large part of ritual and society from the shores of pre-Medieval Britain to Ancient Egypt and Greece. Jewellers began to develop necklaces and chains and set semi-precious gems into their adornments; thereafter gold pendants were worn and admired, their popularity continuing throughout history.

What is thought to be the earliest gold jewellery was discovered in Bulgaria during the 1970s, dating back to before 4000BC, although it is also believed that societies in Africa and Asia have long known of the precious metal’s appealing combination of beauty and malleability.

Some of the first gold pendants are thought to have been made by ancient civilisations such as the Minoans on Crete and the Etruscans in Italy. The early inhabitants of the Greek island produced cable chains out of gold and on the mainland Mycenaean culture was developing stunning gold rings and ceremonial masks.

It was the Romans, however, who first made gemstones fashionable, hanging crystals of emerald, diamonds and pearls from their gold pendants and setting peridots and sapphires into their bangles and bracelets. They were also partly responsible for creating the tradition of wearing gold wedding rings as part of a marriage celebration.

Pendants have been made out of anything from animal bones and shells to materials such as jet and bronze in prehistoric British societies. But the Egyptian penchant for gold trinkets and treasures signalled a new era of might and extravagance, amply illustrated by the earrings, necklaces and famous solid gold coffin discovered in the tomb of Egyptian King Tutankhamen, dated around 1352BC.

The Ancient Egyptians also revered the cat and produced many gold pendants paying homage to that most sacred of creatures. Symbols such as the gold cross were also used here in ancient times to represent life but the later Coptic Christians brought the crucifix to the forefront of symbolism and consequently, fashion.

Gold pendants undoubtedly remain a timeless treasure today, with enduring motifs from crosses to keys, butterflies to angel’s wings filling the retail racks and online stores. Visitors to our site can browse a huge variety of modern pendants to get a better idea of the market. Both in decorative statement and talismanic styles through the ages, pendant jewellery remains highly symbolic and much-sought-after in contemporary society.

Written by Rachel Roberts

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