An introduction to Adriatic Jewellery history

The content of this post comes courtesy of the Ethnographic Museum in Split; a second post on jewellery on the Dalmatian Hinterland will follow next week.

The area this post relates to is the coastal southern part of Croatia, which offers a Mediterranean climate and Mediterranean cultural influences.  The area being refers to stretches from Istria to the southern borders of Dubrovnik.

The colourful political history of this area, and its’ variety of cultural influences can be seen reflected in the jewellery of the region.  The closest and most direct influences coming
via the sea from Venice and a Venetian style can also be seen in architectural influences
in the region.

The people of this region tended to wear less jewellery than people from other regions but that was worn was made from expensive materials and was made with skills and artistic components unlike that of other areas.

Beside the use of, often gilt, bronze and silver the most common jewellery was made from gold. Golden artefacts made using a filigree or granulation technique were often decorated with coral or pearls. While artefacts made using casting method were decorated with inserted pearls, precious and semi-precious gemstones.

Photo taken at Museum in Split - no history of ring

There appears to be no jewellery that is directly related to traditional dress, and any trace of home manufactured jewellery is very rare.  An Adriatic traditional jewellery inventory consists of independent pieces made in the workshops in the urban centres of Rijeka, Zadar, Sibenik, Trogir, Split and Dubrovnik.  The jewellers or goldsmiths initials are found on the backside of any such pieces of jewellery.  The initials show a responsibility for the quality in the manufacturers work and enable pieces to be traced to the area and workshop they would have been made in.

Whilst I am sure there is more to this story this is all I have found to date, I would love to hear from you if you know more about the jewellery of this region or can direct me to additional research.