Since the day the Gothic style got into mass fashion in the 1980s, it has become a cultural phenomenon. However, the roots of Gothic go back to medieval times, when this style had dominated architecture and fashion in the 13-15th century before it was replaced by Classicism. It was in the post-Gothic period that the style received its name referring to the Germanic tribes of Goths. Pompous and deprived of any elegance, it seemed cold, too strict, and almost barbaric to the people of that era. Centuries later, we were able to truly appreciate the beauty of Gothic.
Modern interpretations of Gothic still rely on the features and trends that originated in the Middle Ages. At the same time, the Gothic style underwent many transformations under the influence of historical trends, achievements of the modern civilization, as well as thanks to the legacy of civilizations of the past. Below, we will describe 3 pillars on which the modern Gothic style rests.
From the first day of its appearance, Gothic has been serving the higher powers. The very first physical objects created in this style were churches and cathedrals. Cologne Cathedral, Notre-Dame de Paris, Milan Cathedral, and many others are surviving proofs of the greatness of Gothic. Naturally, all these giants demonstrate similar features – pointed arches and semi-arches, cross vaults, carved pediments, pointed openwork towers, complex ornaments and sculptures decorating the facade and interiors, and many others. Eventually, many of these features in one form or another impacted Gothic jewelry.
Despite a strong visual appeal on its own, Gothic motifs were closely related to religious doctrine. For example, it was customary to decorate interiors with floral ornaments. Prickly plants symbolized the redemptive voluntary sacrifice of Jesus Christ, while roses were a symbol of the Lord’s Passion. Crosses, as the most obvious attribute of Christianity, are also pervasive in Gothic and Gothic-inspired jewelry. Long story short, religion and Christianity, in particular, made a valuable contribution to the shape, form, and significance of the Gothic style.
Since the revival of Gothic in the 20th century, its religious underlying went through some metamorphoses. In particular, today not only Christianity but also other religions and cultures influence its visual appeal. One of the most prominent symbols of modern Gothic is the Ankh. This ancient Egyptian hieroglyph symbolizes life, immortality, eternity, wisdom, and protection. The same Egyptian culture has also provided such motifs as Wadjet (The Eye of Horus), scarabs, the images of Anubis and other gods, and much more. When it comes to other cultures and religions, Celtic lent the Celtic Cross, Scandinavia brought its runes, and Slavic paganism delivered the images of its deities as well as natural phenomena.
As we have already mentioned, Gothic as a fashion style draws inspiration from the forms and meanings of Gothic architecture. Gothic jewelry is refined, with elongated (like the peaks of towers), pointed (like pointed arches), or rounded (like Rose windows) silhouettes. At the same time, it has fluidity expressed in repeating floral or abstract patterns. Gothic successfully combines elegant lines with deliberately increased dimensions. While the patterns are often dainty yet certainly skillfully executed, they rest on a carrier of formidable dimensions, be it a Gothic ring, pendant, or chandelier earrings.
Monochromatic with a Dash of Vibrant Colors
Modern Gothic style is quite stingy when it comes to the color range. The dominant colors in Gothic are white and black, and they are largely transmitted through silver. Fortunately, this precious metal can be both light and dark thanks to polishing and blackening respectively. At the same time, silver has a deep meaning in Gothic thanks to its aura of mysticism. It is silver that is able to kill a werewolf. It is silver that has healing powers. It is silver that is the metal of the moon, and the moon is the patron of all dark creatures. Silver is of special importance to Goths, a subculture that originated from Gothic. The followers of this subculture consider themselves the children of the night, and silver is one of the many representations of their beliefs.
That being said, Gothic is not deprived of colors, but the range of accepted colors is pretty limited. Red is the only ‘warm’ color that is welcome. That’s because it represents passion, suffering, love, and blood, the concepts that are integral to Gothic in all its forms. Traditionally, Gothic prefers the colors of the cold spectrum – blue, green, and violet. Colors are mixed into the otherwise black and white pieces with the help of enamel or precious stones. Products intended to imitate the works of Gothic jewelry art of the Middle Ages use cabochons, smooth semicircular stones, while modern pieces benefit from faceted gems.