Greek Hellenistic Gold and Coral Amphora Pendant with Dolphins
A fine Greek, Hellenistic, gold pendant, featuring a coral bead in the shape of an amphora.The large central bead has been polished and shaped, rounding to form the shoulders of the vase and a thin, cylindrical neck. A ribbed gold collar is attached to the top of the coral bead. Two handles, also made of gold, have been shaped into two, undulating dolphins, placed at either side. Fine detailing has been added to the dolphin’s fins and tail. Between the two dolphins is a wide suspension loop. A small pearl has also been added to the base of the coral bead, which then terminates in a small, gold, flared foot. Such pendants may have been adapted from an earring in ancient times. This beautiful item of jewellery testifies to the extreme quality of Greek Hellenistic goldsmith art.
Date: Circa 4th - 3rd Century BC Provenance: Acquired 1970-2010. Collection of a late Japanese gentleman. Condition: Excellent condition, suitable for modern wear with care.
As in many ancient societies, jewellery was an important social marker used to demonstrate wealth and hierarchical status. In Ancient Greek culture jewellery was worn in everyday life but was also buried with the deceased as part of his or her funerary outfit. Jewellery might have been enriched by precious and semi-precious stones and decorative motives would have included popular myths, gods, goddesses, and heroes. In Ancient Greek and Roman mythology dolphins were associated with the sea and with the sphere of sensual love, bearing an amatory symbolism. Because of the assonance between the ancient Greek word delphis, δελφίς, meaning dolphin, and the word delphus, δελφύς, meaning womb, dolphins were considered animals sacred to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, fertility and desire.