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.
Ancient Greek Hellenistic Gold Pendant with Dolphins
A very fine Greek Hellenistic gold pendant in the shape of an amphora, composed of a flat foot and two suspension loops at the top. The amphora’s body is formed by a large carnelian bead and a smaller deep red garnet bead above it, whilst two hardstone beads displaying a pinkish hue form the vessel’s neck. Two gold discs and a gold bead enrich the foot. The piece is further embellished with two dolphins, modelled in a thin sheet of gold, one at each side of the suspension loop to create decorative handles. This beautiful item of jewellery testimonies the extreme quality of Greek Hellenistic goldsmith art.
Condition: Excellent condition. The two hardstone beads have been affixed together using glue.