Save 15% with coupon code "Solstice" through June 22nd.

stonehenge

Summer Solstice Sale at The Museum of Jewelry

For bygone cultures and civilizations, the summer solstice - the longest day of the year - was often endowed with great significance. Celebrated on June 21st in the northern hemisphere, midsummer or solstice was a revered and special occasion. Many ancient cultures honored the holiday with celebrations, festivals and other observances, a handful of which survive (or have been revived) in modern times.

In honor of this special occasion, we invite you to use coupon code "Solstice" and save 15% on all silver jewelry, all gold vermeil jewelry and all objets de art. Like the longest day of summer, this sale is available for a limited time.

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greek reproduction jewelry
Aegean Bracelet $299

Ancient Greeks

According to certain iterations of the Greek calendar - they varied widely by region and era - the summer solstice was the first day of the year. Several festivals were held around this time, including Kronia, which celebrated the agriculture god Cronus. The strict social code was temporarily turned on its head during Kronia, with slaves participating in the merriment as equals or even being served by their masters. The summer solstice also marked the one-month countdown to the opening of the Olympic games.

 

Ancient Romans

roman historic reproductions
Messina Moonstone Earrings $79
In the days leading up to the summer solstice, ancient Romans celebrated the Vestalia festival, which paid tribute to Vesta, the goddess of the hearth. Rituals included the sacrifice of an unborn calf remove from its mother’s womb. This was the only time of the year when married women were allowed to enter the sacred temple of the vestal virgins and make offerings to Vesta there.

 


Meditation Buddha $79

Ancient Chinese

Originally honoring the death of poet and minister Qu Yuan (c. 340–278 BC) the ancient Chinese participated in a Duanwu or Dragon Boat ceremonies just before the summer solstice to honor the earth, femininity and the force known as yin. It complemented the winter solstice ritual, which was devoted to the heavens, masculinity and yang.

 

Ancient Northern and Central European Tribes

Many Germanic, Slavic and Celtic pagans welcomed summer with bonfires, a tradition that is still enjoyed in Germany, Austria, Estonia and other countries.
Triselion-Earrings $149
Some ancient tribes practiced a ritual in which couples would jump through the flames to predict how high that year’s crops would grow.

The Celtic high priests known as the Druids likely led ritual celebrations during midsummer, but - contrary to popular belief - it is unlikely that these took place at Stonehenge (pictured above), England’s most famous megalithic stone circle. Still, people who identify as modern Druids continue to gather at the monument for the summer solstice, winter solstice, spring equinox and autumn equinox. 

 

Native Americans & Mesoamericans

Many Native American tribes took part in centuries-old midsummer rituals, some of which are still practiced today. The Sioux, for instance, performed a ceremonial sun dance around a tree while wearing symbolic colors.
Mayan Mask Black $57
Mayan Mask White $56
Some scholars believe that Wyoming’s Bighorn medicine wheel, an arrangement of stones built several hundred years ago by the Plains Indians, aligns with the solstice sunrise and sunset, and was therefore the site of that culture’s annual sun dance.

While not much is known of how exactly the mighty pre-Columbian civilizations of Central America celebrated midsummer, the ruins of their once-great cities indicate the great significance of that day. Temples, public buildings and other structures were often precisely aligned with the shadows cast by major astrological phenomena, particularly the summer and winter solstices.