Shiny! Jewellery in GWENT – Part 2: Humans
Peasants and Soldiers
Even though jewellery should be much more common among humans than among monsters, many humans in the card artworks do not wear any because of their status and profession.
The Peasant Militia is part of the working class. Farmers who need to work hard for their pay, which might be miserable due to taxes, unfortunate weather or even monster attacks. When it comes to jewellery, expensive gemstones, or precious metals are off limits simply due to budget reasons. And even if they could afford it, why would they wear impractical adornments at work? What if a miller’s necklace would get caught up in the gears of his mill? What if a farmer lost her precious hair pin while working in the fields? Why wear a ring which would only gall the fingers of a lumberjack?
This does not mean peasants do not wear jewellery at all: You can see a wreath of flowers in the background of Inspirational Ballad,
Soldiers do not wear jewellery for the same reasons. It could just get in their way during a fight, they could lose it if they get taken prisoner, or scavengers could rob it from their dead bodies should they fall in battle.
The Monarchs of the Northern Realms
The crown is their supreme symbol of rulership (even though Arachas Queen does not wear one – but our unicorn does!). Dress to impress is certainly given looking at their artworks. All of them wear golden crowns to show their status and wealth.
King Henselt wears the most sumptuous crown among the leaders of the Northern Realms. It is made of gold and bears a unicorn head at its top. The emeralds at its side and the velvet interwoven with gold complete its look. King Henselt himself is of impressive build, and thus his crown complements him well. It would look weird if would just wear a filigree gold circlet.
This somewhat massive look is further underlined by several golden chains and a golden pendant he wears. If he were not already a King, he could probably start a career as gangster rapper with those chains. “DJ Xtra” already is in the music business after all.
In his left hand he holds what could be an imperial orb, also adorned with emeralds. It is hard to tell if it is really an orb – if so it would probably be made from gold as well, but it seems to be of the same material like the massive tower-wall-belt he wears. It could be the pommel of his sword, but when I asked Easha about it (she trains medieval swords(wo)manship after all) she told me that a pommel of this size would just be impractical and super heavy. If it were not hollow, the blade balanced by this pommel would need to be several metres long. So let’s drop the pommel-theory and assume it is an orb.
All those jewellery combined has some serious weight and probably needs a man of king Henselt’s build to carry it for a whole day. I would probably have stiff neck muscles after a few hours if I were the one to wear it.
King Demavend III’s crown has a similar shape like Henselt’s. The head may not be covered by velvet and it lacks gemstones and the decoration at the top, but the shape is the same. This crown is also made of gold and is adorned by floral engravings.
King Foltest wears a crown of a different design which does not cover the head. It seems to be placed on top of the helmet-chain-combination he wears. The headband is made from gold and bears engravings, just like his necklace, buttons and belt which display the Temerian lily present in the country’s coat of arms.
Queen Meve’s crown is even more unadorned in its design, even though this might be a version of her crown she wears at war and there is another ceremonial version as well.
Foltest’s daughter Princess Adda “the White” does not wear a crown, but a tiara adorned with gemstones and pearls. It is hard to tell from the artwork what the decoration of her golden tiara is made from exactly, so these are merely educated guesses.
The gemstones look like moonstones and the base of the tiara close to her hairline seems to be adorned with a line of pearls. I have to admit, if this is correct, those pearls are quite big ones. But it certainly is an option, Temeria has access to the sea after all and even if they do not originate from Temerian territorial waters, they could have been imported or be the spoils of war from an earlier victorious campaign.
The tiara has also a somewhat cuter look to it than the crowns. As fellow princess, I want one, too…
The Rulers of Skellige and Nilfgaard
The circlet design seems to be favoured over crowns at the Skellige Isles. Svanrige Tuirseach’s circlet is richly ornamented with engravings and judging from the colour, either made of iron or matt silver. Bran Tuirseach’s circlet is shinier than his son’s. While the material could be either iron or silver again, the embedded engraved crest at the front is most likely silvern.
The premium art of Emhyr var Emreis focuses on his jewellery with all the sparkling of his buckles and the gleaming gemstone of his ring. The gemstone is most likely a blue diamond, a rare jewel worthy of an emperor. Imagine the irony if it were a moonstone in contrast to the Great Sun. Writing of which: The symbol graces the pendant of his golden ceremonial necklace which might be the symbol of his rulership – in contrast to the monarchs of the Northern Realms, the Emperor of Nilfgaard does not wear a crown.
His Empress, however, does. False Ciri wears a Tiara made of gold and sapphires plus a necklace and a sceptre of the same materials. The sceptre is another symbol of rulership besides crown and orb. Even though not at the same card, this symbolic trinity is now complete. Please also mind her pearl earrings.
The Ones who have...
Showing off power and wealth is not a privilege of nobility. Every citizen might be tempted to display their status and funds to the people around. Fine feathers make fine birds after all. A sorceress like Cintrian Enchantress is to be expected to be of utmost beauty and wearing jewellery is part of it.
Adriano the Mink’s source of wealth might be questionable (probably like most of the wealth amassed in Novigrad), his style however is not: A decadent necklace with several gemstones of considerable size? Four golden rings? Nobody would doubt he is a wealthy man.
...the Ones who take
Just like a carcass attracts vultures, wealth attracts scavengers. The pirates Hvitr and Aelydia probably started as small fries who brought it to some wealth after a few raids. Have a look at Aelydia’s two necklaces: (A bit higher. At the two necklaces, you lecher!) One seems to be a leather strap with a tooth and some shards attached to it. It looks self-made and rather basic. The second one, a gold ruby necklace, might be a memento from a successful raid or just has been kept for its beauty. At their card art you can also see, that men and women alike wear earrings.
The award for the most daring jewellery style, however, goes to Lippy Gudmund, even though he is rather carrying “his” jewellery, than wearing it.