Byzantine Rosette Gold Pendant with Turquoise and Garnet
An exceptional Byzantine gold double-faced pendant, modelled in the shape of a rosette with a central turquoise on both sides. One side displays six oval, flat-topped garnet insets. The central round stone is enclosed in a gold sheet frame. The garnet stones are arranged as petals and are also enclosed in thin gold sheet frames, further embellished by twisted gold wire. Five sockets, which would have possibly originally held other stones, are interspersed between the petals. The reverse of each petal displays an intricate open work floral design, enriched by gold granules. Such pendant has been adapted from a more elaborate piece of jewellery in ancient times, with the suspension loop modelled from ancient gold. The intricacy and complexity of this pendant is a hallmark of the absolute mastery of Byzantine goldsmith art. There are no doubts that such piece would have belonged to a member of the aristocracy.
Date: Circa 5th-8th Century AD Condition: Very fine, suitable for modern wear with care.
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. Interestingly, it also acted as a diplomatic tool. Gold is the elected metal for Byzantine jewellery production and precious stones or glass bead may be mounted in box-settings of square, rectangular, or circular shape, such as the case of this beautiful pendant. We know from literary sources that the production of precious metalwork and jewellery in Imperial workshops was controlled by the Imperial treasury, or officinum, which supervised the Imperial factories that made precious metalwork.
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