How Was Jewelry Made in Ancient Times?

Jewelry has been around for centuries, and the methods used to create it have evolved over time. In ancient times, jewelry was made using a variety of techniques and materials that were available at the time. Let’s take a closer look at how jewelry was made in ancient times.

Materials Used in Ancient Jewelry Making

Jewelry makers in ancient times typically used materials that were readily available to them. Some of these materials included:

  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Bronze
  • Shell
  • Bone
  • Gemstones

Techniques Used in Ancient Jewelry Making

There were several techniques used by jewelry makers in ancient times to create their pieces. These techniques included:

Hammering and Shaping Metal

One of the most common methods used to create jewelry was hammering and shaping metal. Gold, silver, copper, iron, and bronze were all commonly used metals for this process. The metal would be heated until it was malleable, then hammered into shape using a variety of tools.


Another popular method was casting. This involved creating a mold out of clay or wax and pouring molten metal into it. Once the metal cooled and hardened, the mold would be broken away to reveal the finished piece.

Filigree Work

Filigree work involves twisting thin wires of metal together to create intricate designs. This technique was particularly popular in ancient Greece and Rome.

Inlaying Gemstones or Engraving Designs on Metals

Inlaying gemstones or engraving designs on metals was another common technique used in ancient times. Engraving designs could be done by hand or with the use of a chisel, while gemstones were often set into a piece of metal using prongs or other methods.

Symbolism in Ancient Jewelry Making

Jewelry in ancient times often had symbolic meaning. For example, an Egyptian scarab beetle symbolized resurrection and eternal life, while a Greek owl represented wisdom. In some cases, jewelry was also used as a form of currency or status symbol.

The Evolution of Jewelry Making

Over time, the methods and materials used to create jewelry have evolved. Today’s jewelers have access to a wider range of materials and tools, allowing them to create more intricate and complex designs than ever before.


Jewelry making has been an important part of human culture for thousands of years. While the techniques and materials used may have changed over time, the beauty and craftsmanship of these pieces remain timeless.