Between the roman empire and the renaissance was, what most historians call the middle ages. During the middle ages or "dark ages" as some term it much of the creativity of the world stagnated. There was still however jewelry being produced. We try to divide it by area and age (sub divisions of time). During this time goldsmiths were familiar with Roman techniques and the jewelry they produced was remarkable in quality as they slowed production and made slightly better craftsmanship.
- Germanic- Evidences of Germanic burial rituals include Ornate dress, and because so, evidences of jewelry. Their jewelry became subject to Byzantine influences and is marked by migrations of people throughout Europe. More technical type pieces, well built, and of interesting detail yet simplistic in nature.
- Byzantine-A major trend in adopting Christianity meant new motifs and the wealth in Constantinople (now the new capital of the empire move from Byzantium). This trend is reflected in its jewelry with roman type construction but much of the work heavily religious.
- Roman-type & Islamic jewelry- Christianity has its own push for jewelry yet some jewelry recovered had Arabic inscriptions. The jewelry has a very strong use of granulation and open filigree work sometimes with contrasting enamel colors (namely white & black). Simultaneously jewelry spread further through monasteries. In part this created the beginning of the self-employed, secular jewelers and goldsmiths. This meant truly more retail type "shops".
- Gothic- Late in the middle ages Byzantine fashion fell from favor as earrings and bracelets lost their appeal. A change from Roman-type styles to Gothic styles began to shape the jewelry world. This meant pointed rather than rounded forms were used. It also meant a push toward less heavy, and less dense decoration to a more simple and elegant design. Enamel at the time was pushed to become more beautiful on finer surfaces. This enamel work was now being used on jewelry that showed more natural forms than previous times leaving us through the renaissance.
- Africa, Asian, South American- Just as areas throughout Europe had their own individualistic approach to jewelry we can see similar things happening in Africa, Asia, and South America.
-Africa- Beads, Ivory, and simplistic metal motifs were worn and shown by those in power and elders. Often symmetrical and simple in shape jewelry of Africa was thought of as classic jewelry adornments
-Asian- Asian jewelry varied greatly on location. Jadeite, Nephrite, and Ivory were largely used to create simple yet classic designs that still exist today
-South American- Tribes scattered through South America were tribes of people who had their own take on jewelry. Evidence of simple, yet well though-out jewelry in gold prevailed.