Late Roman Gold Amulet Holder


A late Roman to early Byzantine gold amulet holder, formed from gold sheet into a rectangular elongated shaft.  One end of the holder is sealed with a gold cap, whilst the other end is open, revealing the amulet inside. The casing surrounds an amulet, which appears to be made of vibrant blue glass; the vivid colour of the stone showing at the open end. Three flattened bands form the suspension loops, each indented to form a decorative groove. The holder is decorated further with the addition of three inlays, encircled with gold granulation. A garnet cabochon sits in the centre, whilst two white glass inlays flank on either side. Three domed granules, terminating in a triangular gold cluster, are suspended beneath the inlays.

Date: Circa 4th - 6th century AD
Condition: Fine condition with signs of ageing. Some encrustation to the suspension loops. Slight erosion to the glass paste inlays.


SKU: AH-1068 Category: Tag:

The ancient Romans considered jewellery to be an essential accessory, for it provided a public display of their wealth. Roman jewellery at first followed trends set by the Etruscans, using gold and glass beads, but as the power and spread of the Roman Empire increased, so too did jewellery designs became increasingly elaborate. Different cultural styles from Greece, Egypt, North Africa, and the Orient were all incorporated to reflect Rome’s prosperity as a dominant, conquering city. The wide range of natural resources enabled artisans to create ostentatious jewellery using a diverse selection of materials. Amulet holders such as this would be worn around the neck and contain various elements. Examples have been found with threads inside (used in thread-magic), used as reliquary holders, or containing strands of hair. They were then filled with sulphur to protect the object inside.

For further information on the various metalwork techniques used in antiquity, please visit our blog: Decorative Metalwork Techniques.

Weight 2.97 g
Dimensions L 2 cm





Semi-Precious Stones

Reference: For Similar: The British Museum, London, item 1917,0601.2981