Romano-Egyptian Gold Pendant with Millefiori Glass Inlay


A fine Romano-Egyptian gold pendant with a millefiori glass inlay. The pendant features a cubic body composed of a square gold bezel inset with the polychrome glass inlay, produced from the millefiori technique. The inlay displays hues of red, green and blue with the green forming a thin circle surrounding a red centre on a blue background. The design is further enriched by parallel linear incisions to the bezel. The reverse of the bezel is left unadorned. A loop has been added to the top for suspension.

Date: Circa 1st century BC - 1st century AD
Period: Ptolemaic Period–Roman Period
Provenance: Ex S.M. London collection, 1970-2000s by descent
Condition: Fine condition. Minor chips to the gold bezel.


SKU: CY-123 Category: Tag:

Jewellery was highly important throughout all of Ancient Egypt’s history, worn across all social classes, and by both women and men. Bright colours and patterns were exceedingly popular, as were bold, large pieces. The annexation of Egypt into the Roman Empire in late Antiquity in no way dampened the Egyptians’ enthusiasm for self-adornment. The Romano-Egyptian period saw great changes in Egyptian art and culture, with more and more Egyptians taking inspiration from the empire’s capital. Glass accessories were incredibly popular in Rome, made from a variety of coloured glasses, and even using different styles to trick the eye into mistaking the glass for gemstones. Glassmakers in Rome were said to be absolute masters of their craft, and their work and styles spread throughout the Empire. Egyptians took inspiration from Rome, and infused the capital’s styles with their bold colours and bright patterns, creating mesmerising pieces.

Millefiori, meaning ‘a thousand flowers’, involved bundles of thin glass rods, of various colours, fused together and then drawn out. They were then cut into slices and fused onto a base of coloured enamel. Most likely this technique derived from glass-making practices seen across the Roman Empire.

Weight 1.02 g
Dimensions L 1.3 x W 0.5 cm





Reference: For similar: The Metropolitan Museum, New York, item 26.7.1225

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