Islamic Arts


The work of Islamic jewellers included pendants and necklaces, earrings, beads, pins, bracelets, rings, head ornaments, such as crowns and diadems, arm bands, anklets, belt trappings, seals and cases.

Jewellery was typically made of gold, silver or bronze, either cast or in the form of sheet metal. The most common types of decoration include relief decoration, full or partial gilding, plain or twisted wire filigree, granulation and niello. Enamels were also popular, using coloured glass powder, which is then applied as a paste to the metal surface and heated until the coloured enamels fuse to the surface.

Necklaces usually consisted of sets of cylindrical or spherical beads, or rosette shaped features. Earrings were often crescent shaped or took the form of animals such as lions and birds. Sometimes they were simple hoops to which beads and other decoration were attached. Bracelets were either open, sometimes with the ends overlapping, or with lion or dragon-headed terminals, or closed, usually with a clasp. Rings were typically set with semi-precious stones, including almandine garnets, carnelian and other agates, lapis, jade, rock crystal and turquoise. Pearls were widely used in earrings and necklaces. Although this repertoire was enriched by new forms and techniques over the centuries, Islamic jewellery has generally held tenaciously to the older traditions of the artform.

Source:- “The Timeline History of Islamic Art and Architecture” by Nasser D. Khalili.

Photo above:- Gold filigree jewellery (clockwise from top left):- Earrings, Syria 10th century CE; Earrings, Fatamid Egypt, 11th century CE; Two Bracelets, Syria 11th century CE, Belt Plaque, Fatamid Egypt, 11th century CE. Source:- Khalili Collection