What is Ottoman jewellery

Ottoman jewellery can be traced as far back as 1526 and it is believed that the Sultan had 90 jewellery makers in his employ. The use of stones during this time was not reserved only for jewellery, it was also used to decorate book covers and weapons. Ottoman jewellery was characterized by bright colors and bold, ornate pieces.

Ottoman jewellery is also characterized by symmetry with the stone having pride of place in the pieces. The handmade pieces were not small delicate pieces but rather large, chunky, loud pieces that made use of ruby’s and emeralds.

Types of Ottoman Jewellery

Many types of jewellery were made during this time but these are some of the prominent pieces

Aigrettes were very popular and worn by both the Sultan and important women in his Harem. Aigrettes are ornate headdresses that are made from feathers and an abundance of gemstones. As time went by these aigrettes became bigger and more ornate and were traditionally worn by both men and women. Some women managed to wear two aigrettes and one time – one on the front and a second at the back.

Earrings are evident throughout history with the size and style changing dramatically over the years. Ottoman women work long, dangling earrings that were adorned with bright gemstones. How the earrings dangle was so important that they were classified into how they dangle with some of the more ornate pieces consisting of 3 drops.

Bangles are also one of those pieces of jewellery that have stood the test of time. Bracelets were worn as Ottoman jewellery by the women of the palace. They had no real preference when it came to the style, but twisted bangles were often chosen.

Rings were also often worn the women of the Ottoman Palace. They would choose rings with amethysts, hades and carnelians and they often wore more than one ring on each finger. Ottoman jewellery really was about adding bigger and brighter pieces to each look. Diamonds were also often used in the design of rings.

Necklaces were also very popular Ottoman jewellery and women would wear them as both chokers and longer necklaces. They would have gold coins added onto long chains of both silver and gold to create large ornate pieces.

The meaning of the stones used in Ottoman jewellery

The semi-precious stones that were used during this time were done so because of the meaning attached to them.

Emerald: This dark green stone is said to bring calm to those who wear it. It was also believing that the wearer would have wisdom and reason when they wore emeralds. Wisdom and reason were characteristics of the Ottoman sultans, so they often favored wearing the green stones. When it comes to relationships it was believed that emerald could heal broken hearts and when given as a gift would ensure faithfulness.

Ruby: This beautiful red stone is said to be the most powerful gem bringing with it a sense of peace. If you are battling demons while you sleep, placing a ruby underneath your pillow will ensure you have peaceful dreams. If you are wearing a ruby ring it must be worn on your left hand so that you can receive life force. When given as a gift, the ruby symbolizes friendship and love.

Diamond: Diamonds symbolize innocence and is the most valued of all the gemstones. When used in Ottoman jewellery diamond were worn by the Sultans as rings ad necklaces. While the diamond does not have powers of its own, it is said to increase the power of the stones it is worn with.

Jade: This stone has positive energies associated with love, money, and protection. When worn, it is believed that the person wearing it will attract love. This stone can also be used to attract money into your life.

Pearl: Pearls are not gemstones; they are naturally formed and have been used in jewellery for many centuries. Pearls are often referred to as the “teardrop of the moon” because of its links to the moon by astrologers. When worn it is believed that the pearl promotes success and abundance.

Coral: Coral is the accumulated skeletal mass of polyps and is known as the “garden of the sea” because of the shape that is makes. This stone has powerful properties and it was believed that it could prevent misfortune and bring harmony to the person wearing it. Many believed that jade would also bring success and money into your life.

Agate: This is a fiery stone that is linked to vitality and the fire elements. Despite its links to fire, this stone can bring calm, safety and security to the person wearing it. It is a popular healing stone that can help to strengthen your nervous system as well reduce the impact of hot flashes.