Romano-British Green Glass Centre-Boss Brooch


A finely cast Roman gilded bronze plate brooch, featuring a green, oval-shaped glass inset in the centre. The glass cabochon is set within a raised flange, holding it in place. This is then bordered by two raised, gilded concentric ridges. To the reverse, the flat-sectioned plate catches are intact. The original pin, is unfortunately missing.

This brooch was found in East Stoke, Nottingham.

Date: Circa 3rd - 4th century AD
Provenance: From a Surrey gentleman's collection (DG), purchased on the London Art Market from an ADA member, formed 1990's onward.
Condition: Very fine condition. Pin now missing.


In the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome, fibulae (or brooches) were originally used  for fastening garments. They came in a variety of shapes, but all were based on the safety pin principle. The Etruscans were very fond of fibulae, some of which were very large and decorated with elaborate granulation and processions of animals in relief. Roman conquests spread the use of the fibula, which became the basis for more complicated brooches. By the Middle Ages, the Roman safety pin type of fibula had fallen into disuse.

Glass-centre brooches are a later dated type, used by the elite. They were a British invention, exported onto the continent. They are mostly always oval or circular in shape, although the former is the more common of the two shapes. Even as brooches went out of fashion, this beautifully decorated type continued to be used as a statement piece of jewellery.

Weight 15.9 g
Dimensions L 3.5 x W 2.7 cm