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Antique Jewelry of Java, Indonesia – Ethnic Jewlery

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On a recent trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC I came across a fascinating and unique display of antique ethnic gold jewelry from the Island of Java in Indonesia. All of the pieces in the exhibition originated from the 8th to the early 10th century and they provide a fascinating glimpse into the art of jewelry that existed in that locale at that time. Necklaces, hair ornaments, earrings, rings and bracelets were cast, embossed and decorated with a fine precision that has been lost through the centuries.

In eight century  Indonesia, gold was not simply a precious metal but was revered as sacred. Skilled goldsmiths employed techniques such as granulation, filigree, sheet work, casting, weaving and repousse. Gold was treated with alum and salt to redden it until the 19th century when craftsmen turned to nitric acid to produce the desired effect.

Many of these  early forms and variants of decorative techniques have survived through the ages and we can see styles and techniques that have influenced the jewelry of today.

Please enjoy viewing pictures from the Eilenberg – Rosen exhibit that I’ve included below…………………..