Jewelry techniques from stoneage

Hello Orchidians, one and all,

So here I am with a couple of questions that concern different
aspects of the jewelry trade.

First, as I have always been quite interested in archeaology, may I
ask those in the know to provide me with some websites that deal with
jewelry from stoneage days up to say, the rise of Rome? I’m
interested in studies dealing with techniques of production,
materials, designs used and so on. The web is my major mode of
contact with such material, our local libraries are dreadfully
lacking in such things. Lots of pictures and descriptions would be
fantastic. Some readings would be great also. My wife is currently in
college and inter-library loans are a possibility if I can find
titles/ authors to learn from. I’ve truly enjoyed Natl. Geographic
articles depicting Scythian and Sumerian jewelry but they very rarely
discuss technique in any detail. I want to know about some of these
techniques because I would love to try my hand at utilizing them for
myself with my own designs. The ancients produced amazing articles of
art with some amazingly crude tools. Call me cheap or drastically
under-funded I don’t care. I want to learn how they did what they
did, and what they developed in the line of tools and such to do it
all. That’s how I learned flintknapping, it should work here too.


There was a program related to the Iceman found in the Alps that
addressed the copper axe he was carrying. The program looked at
primitive copper smelting and working, investigating how such an
excellent piece was made with early tools. It may have been a
National Geographic special, or a PBS program. You might be able to
hunt it down on the PBS website.


These books will get you back about 4000 years:

copy the entire url and paste it into your browser

Books by Jack Ogden should all be very good references. I only
have the little one - #2 on this list. Unfortuneately -out of
print but at least it is not very costly. The bibliography in this
book will lead you to more.

You may find these in a major university fine arts library … (U of
New Mex?) Most public librarys - probably not. They tend to only
have stuff that circulates a lot now days.


Not really stone age but definitely early techniques are found in
the literature of the Viking age: There are very many sites on the
web to look at : search Viking art, Viking metal, Viking metalwork
etc. I don’t think other heritages are as involved as this.

and on and on and on.


Hi Mike, I wonder how many of us became interested in jewelry by
reading about the riches of the ancient world in our youth? Remember
the movies about treasure and the brimming chests of gold and gems?

Fredricka Kulicke in northern New Jersey teaches the techniques that
you are intrested in. Her library is full of books about ancient
jewelry. Check out her website at

I highly recomend her 5 day workshop. I hope to take another one
myself soon.

Lori Johnson

In the following link you can find ancient jewellery exhibited in
Anatolian Civilizations Museum of Turkey In that
page you can olso find manufacturing process of jewellery…

An example:
Name: Necklace elements
Type: Gold
Location where it came from: Alacahoyuk
Way of Coming: Exc. find
Dimensions:: L:1.3cm
Weight: 2.5 gr.
Period: Ancient Bronze

It consists of elements made of a single part by twisting first the
mid and then the four projections of the sheet cut in the form of
capital H letter with a thick mid part, in a way to form a spiral.

Asia Minor is the cradle of ancient jewellery and I am living in
Asia Minor.

Esin Eren

You should also try Jean Stark. She started the Kulicke Stark
school with Mr. Kulicke at least 28+ years ago. Jean has a book on
Byzantine chains and teaches through workshops. She is an amazing
instructor. If she is offering a workshop anywhere near you you
should go. She has taught several workshops at Alan Revere in San
Francisco. She resides in Hilton Head, SC these days.

Jennifer Friedman, enamelist, goldsmith, and holloware restoration
Also a Jean Stark Groupee.

some websites that deal with jewelry from stoneage days up to say,
the rise of Rome? I'm interested in studies dealing with techniques
of production, materials, designs used and so on. 

Mike, in my experience, there’s not much on this kind of thing,
except some analysis of design (from an art-historical point of
view). Almost never does anyone give details on how ancient
jewelry was made. And if they do, it is sometimes incorrect,
because archaeologists rarely ask metalworkers to examine ancient
artifacts. Over the last 40 years or so, I have collected some
things about making ancient jewelry, which were of interest to me.
But knowledge is at a very basic level. For example, the tools
used by ancient metalworkers are not really known (probably because
they were made from rock, clay, bone, wood, etc.) – I comment on
this in an article of mine, “The Larsa Goldsmith’s Hoards–New
Interpretations,” published in the Journal of Near Eastern Studies,
vol. 52 (1993), pp. 1-23.

The Brits have done occasional practical experiments – in the
Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, from the early '70s, they
published results of some experiments in ancient bronzeworking
techniques and on how ancient torcs were cast. There is a German
scholar, Michael M=FCller-Karpe, who has published an article on
evidence for ancient Mesopotamian use of sand-casting, and who
generally has sensible things to say on these topics. But in
English, the best source is Jack Ogden – his book, Jewellery of the
Ancient World, has great pictures and discusses many topics which I
think would be of interest to you. It should also be available on
interlibrary loan.

All the best,
Judy Bjorkman

I noticed a neck ring on this site and it says that it was made by
pressing the thin gold into a mold.

  The neckwear is made of an empty pipe of 1 cm diameter that is
  formed by pressing the bands cut from the thin golden sheet to
  the mold with diagonal grooves and then twisting these bands.
  It is broken in four parts. The parts combine with each other
  on the break positions. 

Thank you for the site, Esin Eren

Marilyn Smith

I’m wondering if we might re-name this thread. I seem to remember
that the original post asked about Stone Age (i.e. Paleolithic)
jewelry and the techniques used in that period. Unless my memory is
way off, the earliest human creations that can be identified as
jewelry are from the Upper (late) Paleolithic and consist almost
entirely of beads. These were carved from organic materials, stones,
etc.–or merely had a hole punched in them. Just a hobby…unlike the
cave paintings.

I think there may be some extant (hammered?) metal jewelry from the
pre-Bronze Age Neolithic, but even Neolithic “jewelers” focused on
beads. A few of the pieces on the Anatolian site recommended by Esin
Eren (great site! thanks!) are from the early Bronze Age, and I think
that’s about as early as metal jewelry gets (maybe 3000 BCE).

I myself would be very interested in any other research or
on late Neolithic and early Bronze Age jewelry and the
techniques used. I doubt that granulation fits into this
category–wasn’t it originated by the Etruscans?

Lisa Orlando
Aphrodite’s Ornaments

A fascinating article (April 20,2004-NY Times-again) describes a
find by archeologists in the Bolombos Caves in Southern Africa that
they believe to be the earliest ‘jewelry’ yet discovered–about
75,000 years ago.

They found an “array of tiny shells pierced with holes, as if
prepared for stringing as… beads.” Apparently these shells do not
ordinarily have holes in them. The 41 pea sized shells were sorted
unto clusters and arranged by similar sizes and shades.
Archaeologists further reported that the small, snail like mollusc
shells were found about 10 miles from where they originated, and
could not have been brought to the site by animals or predators. They
also reported that they showed use patterns that were consistent
with friction from rubbing against “thread, clothes or other beads.”

Prior to this new find, ostrich egg beads, (Africa) perforated teeth
(Bulgaria) and marine beads (Turkey) have been dated from 40,000 to
45,000 years ago.

The interpretation given these finds is that jewelry for personal
adornment goes back much further that we thought, and represents a
very early development of symbolic thinking and the beginning of
modern creativity. Fascinating, isn’t it?


The earliest examples of granulation are apparently 2500 BC at Ur
(Iraq). from the little Jack Ogden book.

First I want to say it is pleasure for me to share these things with
Orkid members.

Now let us talk about stoneage .I want to recommend a book .“The
Origin of Modern Humans” written by Roger Lewin old editor of New
Scientist Magazine.

In the book there is a small chapter related to the stoneage beads.In
that chapter Roger Lewin mentioned about five different production
process.You can also see photos of very old (20000 years) beads made
of animal bones.I read the Turkish Edition of the book may be
something is different in original edition.It is really very
interesting book.May be in the archives of New Scientist Magazine you
can find more.

Esin Eren