Portland vase tie, £30.00
Length: 9.700 cm
Britain, Europe and Prehistory
Ostrogothic, 6th century AD
From a grave, possibly in Italy
Though there is no existing evidence, this splendid buckle is said to have been found in a grave with a pair of gold earrings, two finger-rings, and a gold disc brooch that has not been traced. This clearly shows that they had been worn by a lady of high status, who would have dressed in largely Mediterranean fashion.
The buckle is made of gilded copper alloy, and decorated with a cloisonné mosaic pattern of garnets and stepped green glass squares in gold cells round a large, central, cabochon garnet with the top polished flat. The tongue is silvered and also inlaid with garnets. The pattern of the reflective foils under the garnets and the type of paste used to secure them suggest that the buckle could have been made in an Eastern Mediterranean workshop catering for barbarian taste.
H. Tait (ed.), 7000 years of jewellery (London, British Museum Press, 2006)
S. Marzinzik, Masterpieces: Early medieval a (London, British Museum Press, 2013)