From earliest times the inhabitants of Macedonia had made use of the metals concealed in their earth, which were invaluable for everyday life. Copper, iron, silver, and gold in relatively large quantities for the Greek subsoil constituted one of the principal sources of wealth for the Macedonians. The particular evolution of metalwork in northern Greece was a natural consequence of these deposits.
Archaeological discoveries attest the general use of metals during the Bronze Age (3000-1000 BC). Weapons, utensils, a variety of jewelry, as well as luxury ware (for instance gold ossuary chests, silver urns for ashes, banqueting vessels) were produced in great quantities in the ensuing years to the end of antiquity. Some of these items qualify as masterpieces, not only of Greek metalwork but of Greek art in general.