Saturday, August 16, 2014

Jewelry of the World: Ancient Rome

The Mediterranean is one of the hot beds of ancient civilization, and the largest of the empires to inhabit this area was the Roman Empire. Rome was the home of invention, science, philosophy, religion, art, theater, and war. This breeding ground for culture brought about one of the most diverse eras in jewelry design. 


Because of the expanse of the Roman Empire, styles of jewelry were often influenced by the different cultures that were conquered. Circlets were adapted from contact with Egypt and much of Roman jewelry was made by Greeks in the Greek style. Motifs and imagery from different cultures was often included in Roman jewelry. This is not to say that Romans did not include their own styles. Hoop earrings were first invented in Rome as well as a preference in circular designs. Rome also infused their jewelry with their religion and superstition by carving likenesses of gods or goddesses into jewelry or wearing symbols like snakes for health and protection.  

The Romans had one of the most diverse collections of gemstones available in the Ancient world. Every new country that was conquered brought new stones, and trade lines with Asia and India brought an even larger selection. From this bounty, gem collecting began to take root. Having jewelry with gems from across the empire became very stylish. 

Pearls were highly valued in Roman culture. Pliny the Elder, one of the most prolific writers of early civilization, wrote that two pearls were worth 1,875,000 ounces of fine silver. The conversion to today's currency would put the price at millions of dollars. Amber became very popular as well, especially over the rein of the infamous Emperor Nero. 

One of the most long lasting additions that Rome gave the jewelry world was the invention of the cameo carving. These carvings most likely began as amulets of the gods or charms for protection, but slowly progressed to become beautiful homages to famous figures, a tradition that has endured through the years to today. 

Rome had interesting rules concerning luxurious dress and ornamentation. Marcus Porcius Cato, a censor of the time, began the regulations against ostentatious dress and overly luxurious fashions. Because of this, the tradition of men wearing very limited jewelry was put in place; often men would only wear a ring. Women wore slightly more jewelry but not to the point that Egyptian or Indian women would. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Art Camp Update: The Art Show

Hey all you campers! Last week our Summer Art Camp program ended but the fun doesn't stop there! Come to the Wauconda Public Library on Saturday the 23rd of August to see select pieces of art made by campers over the summer.

The art displayed will be from all genres of medium and styles of art. We've got paintings, weaving projects, collage, mosaic, 3D art, and much more! On opening night (the 23rd) we will have a little ceremony as we open the show and there will be light refreshment. We hope to see you there to celebrate all the hard work and creativity that went into 2014 Summer Art Camp!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Jewelry of the World: Egypt

Egypt was the birthplace to one of the first dynasties in the world. The Nile River created a paradise of wealth, power, and beauty. The area wasn't only good for fertile land and trade; it was rich with gold. This gold became the center of Egyptian jewelry design.


Gold became the perfect metal for jewelry design in Egypt; it was soft and easy to shape into incredible designs. Fine workmanship with gold became demanded by nobles and the Pharaohs. The fame of Egyptian gold work was highly valued throughout the ancient world from Rome to Turkey.

Other precious metals would be imported from surrounding areas. Lapis Lazuli was often sought after. Semiprecious stones would be inlaid into the gold to create beautiful mosaics in necklaces, bracelets, and belts. Often, colored glass was preferred over gems as they were much harder to work with. Although, softer semiprecious stones were used extensively. Blue was the royal color of Egypt and Lapis Lazuli was often sought after.


Often jewelry held a religious significance. Gems would be carved into sacred symbols like eagles and scarab beetles. Jewelry was used in religious ceremonies and became a necessary part of the religious cast.

Jewelry was usually worn by both men and women. As well as being connected to religion and wealth, jewelry was often simply worn aesthetically. Ancient Egyptians of both genders often wore make up, wigs, and had tattoos to enhance their appearance; jewelry was worn the same way.

One of the most important uses of jewelry in Ancient Egypt was saved for the afterlife. Pharaohs and rich nobles would be buried with their jewelry and other riches for their use in the afterlife. Ancient Egyptians believed that the things buried with their loved ones would travel with them to the world after this one. Pharaohs were often buried with furniture, food, mummified pets, slaves, chariots, and even a boat to ensure they would be as well off in the next world as they were in this one.    

Colors were symbolic in Egyptian jewelry. Each color had a meaning, often connected to religion or superstition. Green often symbolized fertility.

The most recognizable piece of Egyptian jewelry is the pectoral collar. These were vast, semicircular pieces of gold detailed with engravings, gems, glass, and beads. These huge necklaces were often connected by chain or ribbon around the neck and would often need a counter weight to hang down the wearer's back. These collars were decorated copiously and became works of art all on their own.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

New Products!

We have some very cool new products at DreamScapes. First we have these hanging lamps that can be put together to form tons of different shapes and styles.

One of our artists just finished a new batch of soap products! Her home grown lavender and Shea butter soap is to die for and her Pumpkin Body Scrub is spicy!

We have all new pewter charms for sale! Each one is unique and perfect for that little bit of individuality for a special piece of jewelry.

And for the geologists out there, we have mini sets of minerals! Each one comes with a sample size of four or more minerals and an identification key. 

So come stop by and see all the new treats we've got for you! See you then!