Renaissance Women Wore Paternosters January 18, 2019 13:18

In Renaissance times (AD 1300 - 1500) rosaries and paternosters were worn on clothing, both as a decorative religious item and also to show the status in society of the wearer.

At times when the Church frowned on excessive displays of wealth, the paternoster could be highly decorative so long as it was also functional. In this way, people were able to continue showing each other what they were worth!

Woman's paternoster rosary

This design from my new Renaissance revival collection is inspired by rosaries worn on the belt as part of a regular daily dress. This style and level of decoration would be likely worn by the middle classes - a merchant's wife perhaps.

By the end of the renaissance period, paternosters and the full size rosary had reached the pinnacle of elaborate design. The plainer, more functional everyday paternosters were used by everyone - young and old, rich and poor, men and women. Paternosters made with expensive gemstones and decorative metalwork and tassels were worn as a status symbol, and as a visible sign of the piety of the wearer.

« Compillation des Cronicques et ystores des Bretons, partie en III livretz, » par Pierre LE BAUT, secrétaire de Jean, sire de Derval. | Gallica

A detail from an illustrated manuscript by Pierre Le Baud*, a high-placed cleric in
15th Century France. This tiny part of a large painting shows a noblewoman
wearing an ornate paternoster rosary over her belt.
My paternoster rosary above is designed to be worn this way.
*Compillation des cronicques et ystoires des Bretons
(Compilation of the Chronicles and Histories of the Bretons)


My new collection, Renaissance Revival, will be in my shop for you to enjoy very soon.