Both men and women wore jewelry in ancient Mesopotamia, and jewelry items were also used to decorate statues of gods, were exchanged as gifts between rulers, were given as wedding gifts, were included in dowries and inheritances, and, of course, were stolen as loot during military campaigns. one of the largest archaeological finds of Mesopotamian jewelry occurred when noted excavator Charles Leonard Woolley explored the royal cemetery at Ur between 1926 and 1932. He uncovered sixteen tombs dating to the period of about 2900 to 2350 B.C., all containing considerable quantities of jewelry. Particularly impressive were the jewelry items of Queen Puabi, including a crown made of gold and lapis lazuli; necklaces of gold, silver, lapis lazuli, and agate; and gold and silver pins for fastening clothes. All of the tombs contained finely made earrings. Another important Mesopotamian jewelry find was made during excavations in 1988 and 1989 by Iraqi archaeologist Mazahim Mahmud Hussein in the ruins of the Assyrian city of Nimrud (Kalhu). Three royal tombs yielded some fifteen hundred pieces of jewelry weighing a total of 100 pounds (45kg).
   Precious stones such as gold and silver and semiprecious ones such as jasper, agate, lapis lazuli, and crystal were fairly scarce in Mesopotamia, so many were imported. Gold and silver came from Anatolia and northern Iran and lapis lazuli from Afghanistan, for example. Valuable metals, as well as finished jewelry pieces, were also seized during raids of foreign lands, especially by the Assyrian kings. Once they had the proper raw materials, Mesopotamian jewelers produced many finely crafted items for both men and women. From Akkadian times, the early third millennium B.C., on, men commonly wore strings of beads and bracelets. In the first millennium b.c. Assyrian men and women wore earrings, bracelets, and amulets. Earrings were typically shaped like rings, crescents, grape clusters, cones, and animal and human heads.
   No actual jewelry shops have yet been found, but a jar containing the tools of a jeweler named Ilsu-Ibnisu was excavated at Larsa. Included were a small anvil, bronze tweezers, a stone for grinding and smoothing jewelry, and beads of silver and gold that had yet to be fashioned into jewelry. The name of another Mesopota-mian jeweler is also known. A letter found in the royal archive at Mari was written by a local priestess to a jeweler named Ili-iddinam; she complained that she had not received the necklace he had promised her even though he had been paid in advance. From studying Mesopotamian jewelry, modern experts have concluded that Ili-iddinam and other jewelers made most gold and silver items by cutting thin sheets of gold or silver into small pieces and using hammers and other tools to shape them.

Ancient Mesopotamia dictioary. . 2015.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Jewelry — Jew el*ry (j[=u] [e^]l*r[y^] or j[udd] [e^]l*r[y^]), n. [Cf. F. joaillerie.] [1913 Webster] 1. The art or trade of a jeweler. Cotgrave. [1913 Webster] 2. Jewels, collectively; as, a bride s jewelry. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • jewelry — (n.) late 14c., juelrye precious ornaments, jewel work, from O.Fr. juelerye, from jouel (see JEWEL (Cf. jewel)). In modern use it can be analyzed as jewel + ERY (Cf. ery) or jeweler + Y (Cf. y) (1). Also jewellery …   Etymology dictionary

  • jewelry — [n] precious stones, metals worn as decoration adornment, anklet, band, bangle, bauble, beads, bijou, bracelet, brass, brooch, cameo, chain, charm, choker, costume, cross, crown, diamonds, earring, finery, frippery, gem, glass*, gold, ice*, jewel …   New thesaurus

  • jewelry — [jo͞o′əl rē, jo͞ol′rē] n. ornaments such as rings, brooches, bracelets, etc., collectively …   English World dictionary

  • jewelry — /jooh euhl ree/, n. 1. articles of gold, silver, precious stones, etc., for personal adornment. 2. any ornaments for personal adornment, as necklaces or cuff links, including those of base metals, glass, plastic, or the like. Also, esp. Brit.,… …   Universalium

  • jewelry — jew|el|ry [ dʒuəlri ] noun uncount ** objects that you wear as decoration. Types of jewelry are rings, which you wear on your finger, bracelets, which you wear on your wrist, and necklaces, which you wear around your neck: wear jewelry: My mother …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Jewelry — (Roget s IV) n. Syn. gems, precious stones, Jewels, gold, silver, baubles, trinkets, adornments, frippery, bijoux, bijouterie, ornaments, costume Jewelry, bangles, gewgaws, gimcrackery, junk Jewelry*; see also Jewel 1 . Types of Jewelry include:… …   English dictionary for students

  • jewelry — noun a locked box for her jewelry Syn: jewels, gems, gemstones, precious stones; costume jewelry, trinkets; informal bling; archaic bijoux …   Thesaurus of popular words

  • JEWELRY —    Etruscan jewelry comprised brooches (fibulae), hair rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets made out of bronze and gold …   Historical Dictionary of the Etruscans

  • jewelry — n. AE; BE spelling: jewellery antique; costume; imitation; junk; precious jewelry …   Combinatory dictionary

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