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VESTIS

Pearl and gold earringsThey seek for pearls at the bottom of the Red Sea, and search the bowels of the earth for emeralds to decorate their ears."
-- Pliny

Jewellery

Like other details of Roman life, jewelry was at first restrained in design and sparingly used, but later contributed to the general exuberant display. Women wore large earrings and bracelets of various types: heavy gold circlets, bangles of twisted gold "snake" bracelets, and some of the same fashion with animal heads at the ends; and during the later centuries they wore several bracelets on each arm..

Necklace Jewelry, which earlier derived its beauty from intricately-fashioned yellow-gold, was later enameled or inlaid with bright colors and set with uncut, unfaceted precious stones.

The extravagant taste for ornament, for earrings, bracelets, and finger-rings brought scathing reprimands from contemporary writers. Pliny says, "They seek for pearls at the bottom of the Red Sea, and search the bowels of the earth for emeralds to decorate their ears." Seneca says that "a single pair was worth the revenue of a large estate."

Ball earringsWomen throughout the period and men in the latter part, had occasion for fibulae to fasten the various outer draperies and, in the Greek manner, the sleeves of stolas and tunicas.

The fibula of the Republican resembled a modern safety-pin, but in later centuries fibulae more often took the form of round or long brooches. Stickpins and hairpins resembled those used by the Greeks.


VILLA > PERSONAL APPEARANCE > WOMEN > JEWELLERY
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