Wednesday 21 March 2018 - Judy Rudoe

The power of jewellery: adornment and ritual from prehistory to the present

What do we mean by jewellery? What does it mean to different societies across time and across the world?

This lecture takes a number of themes in order to expand the concept of jewellery and examine the different reasons why people wear it.

Everyone decorates the body, but there are different notions of how to do so and which parts to decorate.

In many societies jewellery serves as vital protection against evil spirits.
It can be a powerful vehicle of communication, indicating the wearer’s preoccupations, their religion or ethnic group.

It can be a keepsake of a loved one, or a memorial to the dead.

And it can also be a work of art in its own right harnessing all the skills of the goldsmith, gem-setter, or enameller.

Based on the collections of the British Museum, where the speaker has worked for 40 years, this new thought-provoking lecture reveals how jewellery has been worn and used, and takes you from ancient burial ornaments by anonymous masters to the big names of the modern world.

Read more about our lecturer on the British Museum website