Renaissance jewels shared the age's passion for splendour. Enamels, often covering both sides of the jewel, became more elaborate and colourful. Advances in cutting techniques increased the glitter of stones.

The enormous importance of religion in everyday life could be seen in jewellery, as could earthly power - many spectacular pieces were worn as a display of political strength.

The designs reflect the new-found interest in the classical world, with mythological figures and scenes becoming popular. The ancient art of gem engraving was revived. The inclusion of portraits reflected another cultural trend - an increased artistic awareness of the individual.