Gold coin pendant with cloisonné garnet and blue glass edge and loop, set with solidus of Valentinian II. The garnet border is in the form of a double-headed serpent.
- 375-392 (coin)
- Excavated/Findspot: Forsbrook, bank (hedge)
- (Europe,United Kingdom,England,Staffordshire,Forsbrook)
- Diameter: 36 millimetres
- Height: 35.5 millimetres (incl loop)
Coin re-used.Blurton 1997
The Germanic tribes of early medieval Europe prized treasure and bold jewellery; above all gold, when they could get it, and the glitter and opulence of garnet inlay. From the Crimea to England, and from Norway to Spain, this garnet-inlaid style signalled wealth, power and status, enduring for almost three hundred years until the supply of both gold and garnets dwindled in the seventh century. The style drew upon the traditions of eastern nomadic peoples as well as on Roman jewellery techniques. The deep red colour of garnets, often laid over hatched foil to enhance their intensity and sparkle, was probably sought after by the Germanic elites because it evoked the imperial 'purple' of Rome.
After the conversion to Christianity in the seventh century, pendants in the Byzantine style became popular on women's necklaces, worn singly, or sometimes in lavish clusters.
On display: G68/dc8/p2/no4
2012 - Present, London, BM, G68 Money Gallery
1998 9 Feb-3 May, India, Mumbai, Sir Caswasjee Jahangir Hall, The Enduring Image
1997 13 Oct-1998 5 Jan, India, New Delhi, National Museum, The Enduring Image
Britain, Europe and Prehistory
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Object reference number: MCS13419
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