Medieval European jewellery encompasses a full range of objects from humble clothes fastenings typical of the days before zippers and Velcro, to emblems of royalty and lavish ornaments distinguishing elite members of society. While jewellery has been relegated to the so-called minor, applied, or decorative arts, or more positively, the sumptuous arts, the archaeological significance of jewellery is certainly not minor – it communicates to us a wealth of information about the age, gender, marital status, ethnicity, rank, economic status, and beliefs of its bearers. Analysis of materials and techniques can also inform us about trade, economy, and workshop practices. Compared to jewellery-manufacturing techniques of the prehistoric and ancient period, only a few new methods were developed during the medieval period. However, the sources of information about jewellery – archaeological, written, and pictorial – change significantly from the early to the later part of the Middle Ages. The most distinct differences are between the pagan proto-historical cultures of northern Europe that continue until c. ad 1000 and Christian cultures focused on the Mediterranean regions where there were strong antique influences. As Christianity spread northward, this distinction between the two regions lessened.