Medieval Jewelry

HMD_2012nMuch can be said about people from observing what they wear. This is true now as it was in the middle ages. And which personal possessions have ever been treasured more than jewelry?

Warwik presents a talk on the medieval use of jewelry, the goldsmithing behind it and the rich universe of faith, superstition and symbolism which were generally associated with it. Under the headline “No piece of medieval jewelry is random” the Warwik ‘merchant’ recounts the history of jewelry in Denmark from the 11th to the 16th century.

The talk is “hands on” and makes use of show-piece jewelry based on finds, mainly from Denmark. The overall narrative aims at making the audience understand not only the jewelry but also the whole “back-drop” – that is, the contemporary context in which the jewelry was made and used. Topics include:

  • Medieval goldsmithing
  • Metal extraction
  • Avaliability of precious metals and stones
  • Social dogmas (e.g. sumptuary laws, etc.)
  • Saint worship, relics and reliquaria
  • Other religious jewelry
  • Superstition – Inscriptions
  • Superstition – Precious stones
  • Pact symbolism

The focus of the talk is on Denmark and Danish finds, naturally with due consideration the immense influences which came to the country from abroad.

Duration: 30-45 minutes. Audience size: 30-50 persons. We make use of a mobile speaker system (no installations required).

N.B.: The talk on jewelry and goldsmithing can also be carried out as a continuous event outside the scope of the market programme. This “mode” uses specific questions from the audience as the pitch for dialogue, lecturing and storytelling about particular pieces in the jewelry selection. Eventually all are encompassed, but along the way the talk may shift its content from one moment to the next (or perhaps repeat itself) as new members of the audience join up to listen – or wander off. Warwik has found this kind of talk very flexible and suitable to most fairs due to the absence of programme planning.