Necklace

CULTURE:
Greek
DATE:
1st century BCE
more object details

General Description

On this ancient Greek necklace, globular glass beads in green, blue, red, and translucent colors alternate with white glass beads in the shape of dumbbells. Two cylindrical tubes made from ribbed gold, one larger than the other, form the finials at each end of the necklace.

This necklace illustrates a fundamental change in Greek jewelry during the 2nd century BCE: colored effects were no longer applied only to enhance naturalistic decorative motifs and details such as the petals of a flower or the eye of an animal; they were now used in their own right. The bright colors of precious stones were set off against the warm shades of the gold. Although naturalistic motifs continued to be used, they were no longer the preeminent factor in Greek jewelry. The abstract combination of different materials and colors became more and more important.

Adapted from

Barbara Deppert-Lippitz, Ancient Gold Jewelry at the Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art in association with the University of Washington Press, 1996), 65; 138.