Byzantine Gold Pendant with Garnet


A finely worked Byzantine gold pendant hammered from a thin layer of gold. The pendant features a waisted body framed by a herringbone motif and raised figure-of-eight embellishments to the field. Four bezels framed by gold granules rise from the centre of the piece, displaying different shapes and arrangements. The top two bezels are arranged vertically and present a circular shape with cabochon garnet inserts. Whilst, the lower bezels are arranged horizontally and display a teardrop shape, each enclosing a polished garnet plate. A large loop decorated in openwork technique sits at the top of the pendant; eight additional suspension loops are applied to the edges, all smaller in size and undecorated. Some signs of ageing are visible on the plate. Small holes are pierced next to the top lateral suspension loops and the bottom left lateral loop. The central circular bezel displays some chips to the edge. The reverse appears flat and unadorned.

Date: 8th-10th century AD
Provenance: Ex Japanese private collection, formed 1970-2010
Condition: Fine condition


Byzantine jewellery was a continuation of Roman traditions. As in many other cultures throughout history, Byzantine jewellery acted not only as an embellishment, but most importantly as a direct display of someone’s wealth and social status. Gold especially was the favoured medium, which was finely and elaborately worked into beautiful jewellery pieces, such as this striking pendant. Christian religion was very much at the heart of Byzantine culture, politically, socially and artistically. It was an empire run as a theocracy, ruled by God working through the Emperor, and political ideals were largely informed by Christian values. This permeated visual culture as well, not only in terms of art that was explicitly religious in its purpose. With Christian religion becoming the primary religion across the Byzantine Empire, Christian iconography became an extremely popular decorative motif displayed on many smaller decorative items and wares.

To discover more about Byzantine jewellery, please visit our relevant blog post: The Byzantine Empire, Art and Christianity.

Weight 2.3 g
Dimensions L 1.7 x H 3.5 cm


Semi-Precious Stones


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