Ancient Romans appreciated complex jewellery designs and used a wide range of materials. Semi-precious stones like lapis lazuli, emeralds, jasper and carnelian were very popular. They were imported from various parts of the Roman Empire or via the trade routes which stretched from the Baltic area, the Persian Gulf, the Silk Road to the Far East.
Fibulae were worn by both men and women, often richly decorated with (semi-)precious gemstones and metals. Fibulae are found in a large variety of styles, from strictly functional to very elaborate designs with gemstones, colourful enamels or incorporating zoomorphic figures.
The lower classed Romans used cheaper imitations of glass or various metal alloys to reduce the cost of manufacture while displaying their social status.
Roman men typically wore one or more finger rings and fibulae. Jewellery was of particular importance to women in Roman society. They had the right to buy, sell or barter their jewellery independantly as it was considered their own personal property. Jewellery for children not only showed the wealth and social status of the parents, it often included amulets to protect the children from illness and ward off evil forces.
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