Ancient Greek Hellenistic Gold Pendant with Dolphins


A fine Greek, Hellenistic, gold amphora-type pendant. The piece features a circular blue glass bead followed by a tubular cream hardstone with dark speckles, possibly agate, and a round facetted  garnet underneath a gold bead in the form of granulated ring. It is further embellished with two dolphins, finely modelled in gold, one at each side of the suspension loop, creating the handles of the amphora. The dolphins are rendered naturalistically with delicate engravings to indicate the fins, tails and eyes. A further gold loop has been added in antiquity to the top. Such pendants may have been adapted from an earring in ancient times, with the suspension loop modelled from ancient gold. This beautiful item of jewellery testifies to the extreme quality of Greek Hellenistic goldsmiths.

Date: Circa 2nd - 1st Century BC
Provenance: Acquired 1970-2010. Collection of a late Japanese gentleman.
Condition: Fine condition, suitable for modern wear with care.


SKU: CY-35 Category: Tags: ,

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.

Weight 2.41 g
Dimensions L 2.7 x W 1.5 cm




Semi-Precious Stones


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