The unique Minoan Jewellery

The jewellery of the Minoan civilization, based on Bronze Age, demonstrates a sophisticated technological knowledge and an ingenuity of design representing nature.

The Minoans, evolved their own unique art in jewellery making. Smelting technology allowed the refining of precious metals and Minoans transformed raw material into a fantastic array of objects and designs. The majority of pieces were constructed by hand.

The materials utilised in the production of Minoan jewellery included metals such as gold, silver, bronze and gold-plated bronze. Semi-precious stones were used such as rock-crystal, carnelian, garnet, lapis lazuli, obsidian, red, green and yellow jasper and more.

Jewellery took the form of diadems, necklaces, bracelets, beads (in glass, shell, semi-precious stones and in the case of gold, they often took the form of flowers such as lilies), pendants (particularly leaves, axes and cones but also animals and birds), armlets, clothes ornaments, hair pins and hair ornaments, chains and earrings.

The oldest surviving examples of Minoan jewellery were found in tombs from the island of Mochlos, at the eastern Crete and date from 2300-2100 BC. Minoan jewellery manufacture, however, reached its zenith from 1700 to 1500 BC.

As in other branches of the arts, the innovative designs and use of materials employed by Minoan jewellers would have a strong influence not only on surrounding contemporary Aegean communities such as in the Cycladic islands but also on the successive civilizations which superseded the Minoans, in particular the Mycenaeans from mainland Greece.