Georgian metalwork during the Middle Ages ranks among the country's greatest artistic achievements. The craft has an illustrious pedigree in the Caucasus that goes back to the third millennium ВС. From the barrow graves in Trialeti we know that the ancestors of the Georgians were accomplished in smelting, forging, soldering, stamping, and embossing articles of the greatest delicacy as early as the Bronze Age (from the second millennium ВС to the beginning of the first millennium ВС). The numerous bronze belt buckles depicting fantastic animals, dating to the second half of the first millennium ВС, bear similarities to the animal forms later associated with Scythian art.
Examples of Georgian jewelry from the fourth and fifth centuries ВС attest to high technical and aesthetic standards. Granulation, embossing, and delicate filigree work produced earrings, rings, and pendants on par with anything produced in the ancient world. The niello, gold, and silver icons, crosses, jewelry and book covers that date from the eighth and ninth centuries AD are among the earliest examples of the medieval metalworkers skill. Pieces such as the Ishkhani Processional Cross from 973, the Khobi Icon of the Virgin Mary (tenth century), the Martvili Cross and the silver roundel of St. Marnai from Gelati (11th century), and the famous Khakhuli triptych (12th century) are on display in the treasury of the Museum of Georgian Art. These works were sometimes embedded with precious stones, or adorned with cloisonne enameling.
Artists such as Века Opizari set the standard for this work, using a wide variety of techniques and materials for achieving a high point of pictorial representation. As with Georgian architecture, the quality of metalworking declined in the late Middle Ages.