Ancient Greek Dolphin Pendant with Garnets


A very fine ancient Greek Hellenistic pendant with dolphin handles. The pendant is comprised of four small garnet gemstones, each encompassed in granulated beads of gold. At the bottom of the pendant is an irregular hanging tear-drop shaped garnet bead. Each garnet has been carved into a different shape. The pendant is further embellished with two gold dolphins curved to mimic amphora or a vessel’s handles. A loop has been applied to the top for suspension.

Date: 2nd-1st century BC
Condition: Excellent condition. Suitable for modern wear.


SKU: RH-34 Category: Tag:

As in many ancient societies, jewellery was an important social marker used to demonstrate wealth and richness. In Ancient Greek culture jewellery was worn in everyday life but was also buried with the deceased as part of his or her funerary outfit. Jewellery might have been enriched by precious and semi-precious stones and decorative motives would have included popular myths, gods, goddesses, and heroes. In Ancient Greek and Roman mythology dolphins were associated with the sea and with the sphere of sensual love, bearing an amatory symbolism. Because of the assonance between the ancient Greek word delphis, δελφίς, meaning dolphin, and the word delphus, δελφύς, meaning womb, dolphins were considered animals sacred to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, fertility and desire.

To find out more about different metal decorative techniques please see our relevant blog post: Decorative Metalwork Techniques

Weight 2.3 g
Dimensions L 3.8 x W 1.2 cm

Semi-Precious Stones


Reference: For a similar item demonstrating the dolphins and amphora: The British Museum, London, item 1904-0706-1