Jewellery has always been of central importance to all human societies, but medieval jewellery is relatively less well-kwn. This book draws on the important collection at the V&A to focus on the heart of the medieval period from 1050 to 1500. The jewellery worn in medieval Europe was important as an indicator of the wearer's social status and wealth, faith and superstition, allegiances and literacy. Royalty and the bility wore gold, silver or precious gems, the costliest jewellery while humbler ranks wore base metals, copper or pewter, sometimes set with coloured glass, in imitation of gems. This richly illustrated book looks at the jewels themselves and contemporary portraits and sculpture to place the jewellery in its cultural context.
Marian Campbell is a Senior Curator of Metalwork in the Department of Sculpture, Metalwork, Ceramics and Glass at the V&A. She has lectured in major museums in Europe and America, and written widely on metalwork of all periods. She is author of Introduction to Medieval Enamels (1983), and Decorative Ironwork (V&A 1997) and a contributor to Gothic: Art for England 1400-1547 (V&A 2003).