Women’s jewellery and accessories

The jewellery worn as part of Romanian traditional costume is less extensive and ornate that that worn further south in the Balkans. Jewellery used to form part of young girl’s dowries and was worn for weddings. This often included a cunună or crown made of beads and ornaments worn over braided hair, as in Oaș, or necklaces made of up to 20 to 30 concentric rows of beads.

Men’s costume has less jewellery and ornaments than women’s, although strings of beads, pheasant, ostrich or peacock feathers, and woollen tassels are used to decorate hats and fur caps.

Metal jewellery

Coins made into necklaces – salbă (pl. salbe)

Necklaces made of gold, silver and copper coins have been worn with traditional dress for many generations. These necklaces can be short and worn on base of neck (Moldavia, Muntenia), or longer covering the chest (Transylvanian plain), or can consist of several strings of coins and cover chest to waist (Hunedoara, Năsăud, Banat). Ornaments followed the fashion of the time and were demonstrations of the wealth of the wearer, for example around 1900 in southern Romania heavy salbe made of gold coins were often worn by wealthy peasant women.

Metal jewellery made by artisans

Jewellery was made of copper and brass using various techniques such as hammering, punching, casting, engraving, filigree work. This was found mainly in mining areas such as Pădureni, Hunedoara, north and central Moldavia (Suceava, Iași), Bucium villages in the Apuseni Mountains (around gold mines), a few areas in central and north Transylvanian (also around gold mines) and in the Târnave valley. These are all areas with Germanic influences.

Metal ornaments also reached Romania from the south via Macedo-Romanian craftsmen from the Balkans who worked in towns north of the Danube.

In Pădureni, Hunedoara, an old technique of casting molten brass or tin into clay or stone moulds was used to produce several types of ornaments. Women wore a narrow leather belt over a woollen bete from puberty until the end of childbearing age. The leather belt was decorated with tin rivets, and had 5 or 6 little chains hanging down over the right hip with around 30 rings and many ornamental keys attached to them. These were called the chei pe chici. Two types of brass rings were also made in Pădureni. These were both similar to medieval signet rings and likely to have been preserved in this region due to the many Romanian noble families who lived there.

Small polished beads made of imported coral set in brass or tin rings are also found in certain areas.

The style of modern ornaments (podoabaI) made in co-ops in Bucharest, Brașov and Timișoara is based on folk ornaments, metallic girdles with keys from Pădureni, coin necklaces and headwear of Banat, serpent like bracelets of the Dacians.

Beads – mărgele

Strings of beads made of glass, coral, stone, amber or bone shells were worn with costumes in North and central Moldavia, Maramureș, Oaș, Crișana and North Transylvania and to some extent in other areas of the country. Glass or ceramic beads imitating Muranoware from Bohemia were introduced in the 18th century by Czech peddlers. These beads are made into either Lătițar or Zgardane.

Lătițar is a small band of material, often velvet, or ribbon about an inch wide onto which small beads are sewn. They can be worn around neck, chest waist or head. In Maramureș the background is black, in Oaș it is red. In the south these bands are worn over the maramă.

Zgardane (necklaces) are made of several rows of small beads threaded onto strings usually worn round the neck, although they are also used to decorate mens’ hats. These are made with straight edges in Maramureș and Oaș, and scalloped edges in Bucovina (where they are called ghiordan or gherdan), Hunedoara and Bihor.


Handkerchiefs – năframă (pl. năframe)

In many parts of the country decorated handkerchiefs năframe are part of festive costume. These are worn tucked into the belt on festival days. They are square with sides between 20cm to 70cm and are embroidered with wool or with dyed cotton thread (arnici).

Region Summary
Banat Florinaș – a single Hapsburg gold florin set in gold and hung on black velvet or silk ribbon. This fashion came from the Venetians.
Conci – necklace made of coins worn in Banat.
Câmpia Banatului Gold coin necklaces (salba de bani) covering whole front. This fashion is of Turkish, Austrian or French fashion. Coins also sewn onto ceapsa (bonnet) or worn as headband.
Maramureș, Oaș, Zagardane or lătițare are worn.
Lăpuș Strings of Venetian glass and coral beads.
Apuseni mountains Mining led to metal earrings, brooches, and salbe.
Alba Silver necklaces are worn because there is processing of gold and silver in this area.
Bran Headpins on the maramă.
Hunedoara also in Pădureni Tin or copper ornaments called balț.
Pădureni Strings of coral beads or necklace of coins, and a scalloped lătițar.
Piece of wire formed in circle, worn by women in Pădureni, which sits on nape of neck fixed with 3 threads called tin.
Târnave Silver filigree ornaments on vălatori (hat), and rosettes made of gilded bronze and semi precious stones on belts and vălatori, plus large discs worn on chest. Rows of silver beads are worn.
Ţara Bârsei and Scheii Brașovului Metal belt clasps.
Muntenia Latitar – headbands made of black velvet and decorated with beads are worn over maramă.
North Moldavia
Bucovina Beaded band used as necklace, headband, girdle or hat decoration called ghiordan or gherdan.


Published on 23rd February 2018, last modified on 25th February 2018