During the Roman Empire, in ancient Rome, jewelry was seen to an extent never seen before.
At its height, Imperial Rome was to become the center for goldsmiths throughout the world. As well as precious stones and metals, other materials were brought into the city and goldsmiths from countries like Greece and Oriental provinces got to work.
What we know today as a gold ring, used to be displayed by people of distinction such as senators, noblemen, and ambassadors, and this grew to appear on the fingers of lower class people until it became so common that even soldiers wore them.
The renowned patrician families in Rome and surrounding provinces possessed jewelry and magnificent gold and silver furnishings that were displayed in their households.
Purely in terms of style, Roman jewelry in its early days was derived from Hellenistic and Etruscan jewelry. It later developed its own distinctive features including decorative themes that depicted a greater importance when worn in sheer volume, consistent with other pompous displays at that point in Roman history.
Figurines such as that of a serpent that was coiled in spiral was copied from the Hellenistic models, that were often used on rings, bracelets, armbands and earrings.
The Greeks also made use of Greek geometric and botanical symbols, such as fleeting dogs, palmettos, spirals, and beat sequences.
The Greeks took the strong plasticity of the bulla from Etruscan gold jewelry, and used these as necklace pendants and decorated these with filigree or combined them with some old hemispheres on rings, headdresses, and bracelets.
During the height of Pompeii and Rome, jewelry developed its own distinctive Italian features. New symbols were developed that featured a magical nature such as a half moon, on the wheel made from four spikes.
Roman jewelry managed to free itself from Hellenistic and Etruscan influences and began to develop colored stones such as rubies, sapphires, pearls, topazes, and emeralds.
Engraved gems became the flavor of the day and were considered to be collectors’ items by wealthy individuals including the main man Caesar.
These stones were set within bezels or supported by tiny pins that passed through them. Modern techniques included “opus interassile.” This look like a flat or curved surface made from metal which was decorated with small grains that were pierced, as well as niello, which was the primary method of enameling decorated brochures and rings.
Many of the pendants used featured a number of pieces from square bezels in small bullas made from alternating stones that suspended pendants in different shapes.
During that area, the production of gold mesh and chains often featuring inserted bezels with stones or half pearls as well as Laurel and ivy leaves attached.
These pendants were not used necklaces at the start but as time passed, pendants that look like embossed medallions began to surface.
Various precious stones and vitreous pastes as well as golden frames acted as pendants necklaces.
Nearing the end of the 3rd century, various necklaces displayed bore medallions of gold coins showing the portraits of various emperors.