Jewelry of the Middle Ages was massive; large brooches and girdles predominated. Amber was worn as a protection against evil spirits. After 1300 glass beads were used. The Renaissance brought a transformation in the art of the jeweler; noted artists and architects often designed or even rendered pieces of jewelry. Jewelry was splendid with enamel and precious stones; heavy gold link chains, jeweled collars, and the necklace with pendant were worn by both men and women. Jewelry, worn to excess, became overcrowded with stones, to the neglect of the design and setting. By the late 17th cent. the goldsmith and enameler gave way before the lapidary and mounter. A process of making imitation pearls was first discovered in 1680; thereafter, ropes of pearls became highly popular for women.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.