Armenian national costumes and jewelry are as old as the nation’s culture and traditions. By being a dominant and integral part of the Armenian national identity and culture, Armenian jewelry carries very important meanings and beliefs of the nation which will surprise all of its admirers. That is interesting how the first Christian nation in the world hid its pagan beliefs deep into the jewelry. In this article, some of the most important details will be presented with their hidden meanings.
Since ancient times, both men and women wore jewelry in Armenia. It was not just a decoration but rather carried symbolic features to keep the family safe from evil eyes. Jewellery showed social status and symbolized women’s fertility.
Let’s talk about men. Interestingly, the patriarchy did not use jewelry less than women did. There were specific colors, ornaments, and garments that were revealing the men’s social status, role, and masculinity. For example, the silver belt was a sign of masculinity, while Armenian gold pointed to wealth and prosperity.
However, women’s jewelry, like in all the other nations, is of the utmost attention and importance. Not to take it too long, here are some of the most remarkable examples. Interestingly, if in the case of men, the belt indicated masculinity and power, then women’s silver belt was the sign of fertility. Also, it indicated the women’s charm and beauty. However, unmarried girls could not wear golden belts, since it was the sign of marriage.
At the same time, married women had to wear head ornaments, different kinds of bracelets, snake rings, and, surely, necklaces. The latter was decorated with almond-shaped pendants or seashells, which symbolized the feminine origins. At the same time, besides being similar to any specific organs, the jeweler had really very deep pagan contexts. For example, to protect themselves from evil eyes and diseases women had to wear tinkling pieces of jewelry since its voice was symbolized by the natural sounds and could drive away the devils.
Surprisingly, the fertility was so deep in the culture, that even the fruits were given such meanings, such as the pomegranate. The latter has always been present in the life of Armenia in every aspect. In some cases, it showed life, sacrifice, and blood, while in Armenian jewelry it was the symbol of fertility and prosperity.
Recently, Armenian silver jewelry has gained huge popularity and interest among the population. Without even acknowledging their real meanings, the jewelry has entered back into the Armenian lifestyle with more modern solutions. Below are some of the most remarkable shops which create their own versions and represent the accessories to the international market.
The first and foremost place to find our remarkable Armenian jewelry is the Vernissage open-air market located in the central part of Yerevan. In addition to the jewelry, Armenian old carpets, paintings, traditional costumes, and interesting artifacts depicting the culture of the country can be found there. During our tours to Armenia, we organize a visit to Vernissage, to buy souvenirs from local masters.
Armenian pop singer Sirusho founded Pregomesh in 2012 to bring a new style and life to the forgotten ancient pieces of jewelry and traditions. Subsequently, with the help of professional craftsmanship and stylish designs, the offered necklaces, bracelets, belts, and accessories can be easily fitted with any outfit.
Next comes the “Nur Art Gallery” – founded by an Armenian contemporary artist, Arman Nur. The artist gave life to the brand and art gallery in the early 2000-s by presenting unique collections of jewelry, sterling, and bronze artworks, sculptures, and paintings. Nur’s exclusiveness is that he never repeats himself by creating artworks unique in their own way.
Finally, the turn has come to present the pride of the Armenian jewelers market – Tateossian brand- pioneered by the Wharton graduate Robert Tateossian in London. The designer is capable of turning an old-fashioned accessory into an unrepeatable artwork that will amaze the passer-by.
Last but not least, the Yerevan gold market can be considered as the gold mine in the central district of Yerevan. Here lots of designers and professionals gathered to present unique artifacts mainly engraved with religious contexts.