Gothic Jewelry: The Aesthetic of Knights and Witches 

Gothic is the art of finding beauty in the dark side of human life. The gloomy aesthetics of Gothic jewelry reveals the beauty and appeal of symbols that we would never dare to call ‘charming’. Indeed, who would be delighted to stumble upon a bat, snake, or skull? However, Gothic expertly interprets sinister symbolism, breathes a new life into it, and reveals its hitherto unseen facets.

Gothic art has both religious and defiant underlying. It pays homage to God and, at the same time, it rejects it and all the rules religion imposes. Seeing Christian symbols in Gothic jewelry is as common as in church but their meanings are often dissimilar. And even when they concur, Gothic tends to focus on negative connotations. For instance, a cross is a symbol of Christian faith, a symbolic representation of God itself. In Gothic, however, this symbol is used to emphasize suffering, sacrifice, and even worthlessness of a man in the face of the supreme essence. 

The term Gothic is of Italian origin; it derived from the word ‘gotico’, which means barbaric. The name appeared when Gothic art was already in decline. It showed disapproval of the mores that prevailed during the Middle Ages, their reliance on religious obscurantism, and the emergence of art trends subservient to the glorification of God. In the eye of the enlightened minds of the Renaissance, those were dark, savage times, as savage as the tribes of Goths.

The History of Gothic Art

The Gothic style originated in medieval France (XII-XV centuries). Its appearance was facilitated by a few factors including the formation of urban communes, the establishment of the first universities, as well as the spread of mystical theology. Crusades also played an important role in the development of Gothic culture since they revived the interest in the aesthetics of the Byzantine era.

Gothic Jewelry

The architecture was the first to accept Gothic influence. Majestic yet gloomy Cathedrals erected at that time feature exquisite lancet arches, stained glass windows, as well as statues of gargoyles and chimeras. Besides architecture, the disturbing and appealing aesthetic has affected sculpture, painting, and, of course, fashion.

Gothic is one of the few fashion styles that always make a comeback. In the 18th – 19th centuries, we’ve seen the rise of neo-Gothic. It kept the tradition of the medieval Gothic but, at the same time, put an emphasis on femininity and sophistication. In the twentieth century, Gothic spawned a youth subculture that embraced eerie symbolism. Nevertheless, the refined version of Gothic is still alive and kicking, and it continuously makes an appearance in fashion collections by renowned couturiers.  

Features of Gothic Style 

Gothic style is built upon the symbols of love and fidelity, life and death, mysticism and religion. The most prominent of these symbols are skulls, snakes, roses, dragons, crosses, swords, hearts and daggers, bats, coffins, Egyptian hieroglyphs, and many others. When there is no particular symbol, unique Gothic jewelry shows off openwork patterns resembling a thin cobweb or handmade lace, mosaic or stained glass comprised of gems or pieces of enamel, as well as floral patterns and runic inscriptions.

Gothic Jewelry

Initially, the Gothic style didn’t shy away from vibrant colors. Yellow and gold were all the rage in the Middle rages. In the modern interpretation of Gothic, the color palette is rather dark and monochromatic. That being said, the interspersion of colors found in the cold spectrum is more than welcome. A brooch or pendant of a white or black alloy is the prefect background for green, purple, and blue gems. The only ‘warm’ color accepted in Gothic is red, the color of human blood. 

Gothic Jewelry

Silver is adored and worshipped in Gothic. Unlike modern fashion that selects materials based solely on their attractiveness, Gothic is guided by their symbolism and meaning. Mysticism plays a huge role in Gothic, and, perhaps, the most obvious manifestation of mysticism is night and darkness. Just as night cannot exist without the moon, it is impossible to imagine Gothic without the moon metal, i.e. silver. Gold, which opposed silver, is the personification of the sun and its vital energy. Because its vibes are contrary to the ideology of Gothic, its role in the jewelry of this style is insignificant and episodic.

Besides metals and gems, Gothic benefits from enamels, lace, leather, and even latex. The latter, however, is more prominent in substyles focused on sexuality (bondage Gothic, for example). When it comes to leather, it shows off its best features in necklaces, chokers, brooches, bracelets, and accessories (gloves, belts, and corsets). 

Many people are sure that Gothic jewelry requires appropriate outfits. While it is desirable that your clothes and jewelry ooze mutually complementary vibes, it is not necessary to go full-Gothic to achieve a cohesive look. A luxurious silver necklace adorned with amethysts will look outstanding with a red-carpet evening gown. A skull pendant hanging from a long silver chain is the perfect complement for streetwear and everyday outfits. The most important thing is that pieces of your wardrobe go well with each other, and their particular style is another story.

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