Greco-Roman Gold Pendant with Garnets

£ 4,200.00

A beautiful Greco-Roman gold pendant hammered in repoussé technique from a thin layer of gold. The pendant is modelled in the shape of a figure’s bust and features a ribbed suspension loop to the top and five dangles to the bottom. Each dangle is formed of a coiled gold wire, ending in a red glass spacer bead and a leaf-shaped gold pendant, rendered in a thin layer of gold and embellished by a delicate repoussé decoration, forming a pointillé border. A thin gold braid frames the composition, providing additional elegance to the piece. The figure is portrayed demi-bust, facing frontally, and wearing a heavily folded vest. Facial features are sensitively and naturalistically rendered, undeniably displaying Greek-Hellenistic influences. The composition is further enriched by three applied cells, each with a garnet cabochon inset held in a in a claw setting. Although is impossible for us to discern the true identity behind the figure, we can suggest an identification with Eros or Cupid, the Greco-Roman god of love and desire. However, the folded drapery might also identify the figure as a woman. Considering the style of the piece, the pendant might have been produced in Hellenistic Greece or in the eastern part of Roman territories: an extraordinary testimony of the great refinement and attention to details of ancient goldsmiths. Weight: 10 g.

Date: Circa 3rd BC-1st Century AD
Provenance: From the property of a London gentleman; thence by descent; previously in an important private Mayfair, London collection, acquired after 1970.
Condition: Extremely fine, the pendant is suitable for modern wear with care.


Product Code: GS-53
Categories: , Tags: , ,

As in many ancient societies, jewellery was an important social marker used to demonstrate wealth and richness. Greek and Roman jewellery was extremely elaborate in the designs and in the materials used, such as precious and semi-precious gemstones. Garnet was favoured in Antiquity due to its deep colouration and for the meaning that was attributed to it. In Ancient Greek and Roman mythology, Hades gave pomegranate seeds to his lover Persephone, as a token of safety, while she was leaving the underworld to join her mother Demeter in the human world. The semi-precious stone, recalling the colour and the shape of the pomegranate seed, became a typical gift exchanged between separated lovers. This delicate pendant might have been worn as a token of love. The connection with love is here emphasized by the leaf-shape pendants, resembling Cupid’s enchanted arrow points.

To discover more about jewellery in the Ancient World, please visit our relevant post: Jewellery in Antiquity.

Dimensions H 7 cm


Semi-Precious Stone



Glass Paste

Roman Mythology


Greek Mythology


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