Why Was Jewelry Important in Ancient Greece?

Jewelry has been an important part of human culture for thousands of years. In ancient Greece, jewelry was not only used for adornment but also held great cultural, religious and social significance. Let’s explore why jewelry was so important in ancient Greek society.

Religious Significance

In ancient Greece, jewelry played a significant role in religious ceremonies and rituals. The Greeks believed that wearing certain types of jewelry would bring them closer to their gods and goddesses. For instance, the goddess Athena was associated with the owl, and people often wore owl-shaped pendants or earrings to honor her.

Social Status

Jewelry also served as a symbol of social status in ancient Greece. Wealthy individuals often wore intricate pieces made from precious metals and gemstones to display their affluence. On the other hand, those with lower social status would wear simpler designs made from cheaper materials such as clay or glass.

Athletic Achievements

In addition to religious and social significance, jewelry was also associated with athletic achievements in ancient Greece. During sporting events like the Olympic Games, victors were awarded wreaths made from olive leaves or laurel branches as a symbol of their victory. These wreaths were worn as a form of jewelry and were considered highly prestigious.

Materials Used

The ancient Greeks used a variety of materials to create their jewelry. Some popular materials included gold, silver, bronze, ivory and precious gemstones like emeralds and sapphires. They also incorporated natural elements such as shells, pearls and coral into their designs.


Ancient Greek jewelry featured intricate designs that often incorporated mythological figures or symbols associated with Greek culture. For example, pieces featuring the god Hermes would include his signature winged sandals or helmet.

  • The Gorgon – a mythical creature with snakes for hair that was believed to ward off evil spirits.
  • The Amphora – a type of vase that was commonly used in ancient Greece, often depicted in jewelry designs.
  • The Greek Key Pattern – a popular decorative motif featuring interlocking lines that form an intricate pattern.


In conclusion, jewelry was an important aspect of ancient Greek society and held great cultural, religious and social significance. The intricate designs and use of precious materials made them not only beautiful but also highly valued. Today, ancient Greek jewelry serves as a reminder of the rich cultural history of Greece and its influence on contemporary jewelry design.