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. The repoussé technique, which was in use since Greek and Roman times, allows to create a pattern with metalwork by hammering the reverse to produce a design in low relief. A variety of different metals were used such as silver, bronze, copper or gold, much like this beautiful example, to embellish vessels, ornaments and jewellery. The use of wearing gold roundels as pieces of jewellery dates back to the Old Babylonian Period. Similar gold discs have been recovered at the beginning of the 1st millennium BC from north-west Iran, precisely from the archaeological site of Hasanlu, and from Cyprus. The practice was then developed during Classical and Hellenistic times, reaching Rome and consequently the Byzantine Empire.
Gold Repoussé Roundel Pendant with Rosette Motif
A finely rendered Byzantine Empire gold pendant hammered from a thin layer of gold. The medallion features to the centre a rosette motif enclosed by a single ring, both produced using the repoussé technique. The outer edge of the pice is framed by a twisting gold wire. Such piece might have originally been an appliqué, possibly part of a more elaborate piece of jewellery or sewed into garments. The loop to the top has been reworked in Antiquity to allow suspension.
Provenance: Ex Private Japanese collection of a gentleman, deceased, 1970-2015
Condition: Very fine condition, suitable for modern wear with care.