Ancient Greek Gold Repoussé Pendant

£ 550.00

A beautiful ancient Greek repoussé pendant made from gold sheet. It is decorated with a turtle and features loop attachments.

Date: 7th – 5th Century BC
Condition: Very fine condition; all three original loop attachments still intact; very delicate metalwork.


Featuring a large central discus, this pendant has been created using the repoussé technique. It involves shaping very thin, malleable metal from the reverse in order to create a design in low relief. It was a technique used even in ancient times to create delicate gold and silverware.

The turtle, which decorates the pendant, bore several symbolic meanings. In Greek, the name for a turtle is ‘Khelone’: according to Greek mythology, Khelone was a nymph who spurned the wedding invitation of the gods, Zeus and Hera, because she preferred to stay at home. As her punishment, she was changed into a turtle and as such condemned to carrying her home forever on her back.

The turtle was also used on the earliest forms of coinage, as a symbol for the Greek island of Aegina. As a sea-faring island, the inhabitants of Aegina desired a symbol that emphasised their marine way of life, and so the turtle was the perfect choice. It was also used as a symbol of the goddess Aphrodite, who had a temple on the Greek island. Coinage from Aegina also used the repoussé technique

It is reasonable to assume that this pendant was made to be worn. Its wearer could have had with connections to Aegina, or perhaps wished to invoke the protection of the goddess Aphrodite or Khelone.

Weight 1.4 g
Dimensions L 1.9 cm



Greek Mythology

You may also like…