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A lovely gold and blue glass child’s ring from a fourteenth century B.C. tomb near Thebes. Such exquisite craftsmanship and simple elegance would, with a bit of restoration, sell in any modern-day Manhattan or Beverly Hills fine jewelry boutique.

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Some time ago, I posted an entry about Aegean seal stones, and how they were worn as rings or on cords around the neck or wrist.  Recently, I received a back issue of National Geographic from February 1978 in which a woman was shown modeling these seal rings.

To give you a sense of scale, here is the image below.  Note: the first ring is the one with the animal-headed offering bearers.

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Both Mycenaean men and women wore jewelry.  Jewelry was handcrafted from gold, silver, semiprecious stones, and glass paste.  From some of the finds in Mycenaean and Minoan tombs, wealthy women also sewed wafer-thin gold or silver appliqués to their clothing.  Imagine their skirts chiming and tinkling as they walked.

Examples of gold bead bracelets and necklaces.

Some of the gold adornments, particularly the finds from Mycenae's Grave Circle A, are so thin and fragile they must have been made strictly for burial.  One example is the wafer-thin pendant depicting a goddess with foliage sprouting from her head, shown below.

Crowns were made from thin, beaten gold sewn onto cloth strips, such as this famous spoked diadem.  It is very large, and must have made quite an impression.  Clytaemnestra would have worn something like this.  Below the diadem are examples of the appliqués women wore on their clothing.


Below is a modern version of a Mycenaean/Minoan semiprecious and gold necklace.  The materials are agate, aventurine, and vermeil.  Ancient women would have worn two or three such necklaces, of varying lengths, at once.


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