Ancient Roman Black Glass Beaded Necklace with Mosaic Glass Bead


A finely restrung Ancient Roman necklace composed of small glass beads of different hues. Most beads are black with some inclusion of dark blue, grey and red beads that add to the overall mosaic-like impression of the piece. The beads gradually increase in size towards the centre and display a textured finish. Four larger beads form the centrepiece of the necklace. Two black beads make up the pendant. The bottom bead is a smooth black cylinder with three colourful ‘crumb’ formations. Two reddish-brown tubular beads with blue and white patterns were added above.  The necklace testifies to the popularity of glass ornaments across the Roman Empire. The necklace is finished with a modern silver clasp (please be aware the clasp has not been professionally tied).

Date: Circa 1st - 3rd Century AD
Condition: Fine condition, the necklace has been restrung. Half length 21cm

In stock

SKU: SK-156 Category: Tags: ,

The ancient Romans considered jewellery to be an essential accessory, for it provided a public display of their wealth. Roman jewellery at first followed trends set by the Etruscans, using gold and glass beads, but as the power and spread of the Roman Empire increased, jewellery designs became increasingly elaborate. Different cultural styles from Greece, Egypt, North Africa, and the Orient were all incorporated to reflect Rome’s prosperity as a dominant, conquering city.

The term ‘crumb’ bead (or ‘splatter’ beads) refer to the beads decorated with areas of colourful dots that look like paint splatters. Crumb beads were usually made by rolling a still hot bead over crushed glass crumbs. In some cases, the crumbs completely covered the bead surface; in others, like in this necklace, they are more or less sparsely applied. The crumbs can be monochrome or multiculoured (though the latter was more common), and marvered flat or left somewhat protruding. There is some evidence of crumb-decoration troughout most of the later periods.

Weight 21.4 g
Dimensions L 38.9 cm



Reference: For a similar bead, Christie’s Antiquities auction, 13th October 2008, lot 63

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