Jewelry in The Renaissance 1460 – 1650, England
Illustration on top: Portrait of Henry VIII (1491 – 1547) by Hans Holbein the Younger, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
During the Renaissance period in England, which lasted from 1460 to 1650, the country experienced a significant artistic and intellectual growth, marked by the flourishing of art, architecture, literature, and music. One of the significant events that marked this era was "the Act of Supremacy" in 1534, which was passed by Henry VIII, the King of England. This Act made the English monarch the head of the Church of England, and as a result, he could confiscate the fortunes of the churches and use the wealth to support the arts.
Henry VIII was a notable patron of the arts and was renowned for his love of lavish and extravagant jewelry. In portraits, he is depicted wearing heavy necklaces and rings, and his sleeves and collar were studded with gemstone clasps. He also wore hats studded with rows of jewels, which became a symbol of wealth and power during the Renaissance period. The trend of wearing jewelry as a symbol of status and power continued throughout the period.
In addition to jewelry, fashion played a significant role during the Renaissance in England. It was fashionable for both men and women to wear clothes that were split open and held together with bejeweled hooks, as mentioned earlier. This allowed the shirt to be pulled out between the cracks, adding a touch of glamour and luxury to everyday clothing.
Illustration above: Elisabeth I, (1533 – 1603) Queen of England and Ireland
Queen Elizabeth I, who reigned from 1558 to 1603, did her part to maintain the tradition of lavish adornment for women. She was known for her love of ornate clothing, and she often wore extravagant gowns and jewelry. Her taste for luxury and opulence was an essential aspect of the Elizabethan era, and it helped to solidify England's reputation as a cultural and artistic hub during the Renaissance.
Overall, the Renaissance period in England was marked by significant artistic, cultural, and intellectual growth, with a focus on art, literature, and fashion. The era was also marked by the growing importance of individualism, humanism, and the study of classical works of literature and art, which helped shape the modern world.