Gold disc pendant

Early Anglo-Saxon, AD 600-650
From Faversham, Kent, England

This exceptionally fine small pendant would have been strung together with pendants of similar size, like the complete necklace found at Desborough. In the seventh century the Germanic-style brooch types popular in the late fifth and sixth centuries (great square-headed brooches, cruciform brooches, saucer brooches) were replaced by round brooches and necklaces with small gemstones in gold settings. It is thought that this change in fashion reflects the influence of Byzantine dress styles, conveyed in part through contacts with the Merovingians.

The pendant displays shapes and cellwork typical of the late sixth and early seventh century. Four stepped cells at the cardinal points are set with opaque blue glass similar to the composition on the tongue shield from the high-status burial at Broomfield. Light blue opaque glass was one component colour of millefiori glass such as that found at Sutton Hoo.

The thumb-nail-shaped plate garnet in the centre of the pendant, unusual in size and shape, was certainly a costly stone and may even have been re-used from another object. The filigree border is also evidence of the expense of this piece, with sections of beaded gold wire laid in parallel rows to resemble a thick rope.

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Height: 2.500 cm
Width: 1.750 cm

Museum number

M&ME 1140'70


Bequeathed by William Gibbs


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