Gold necklace

6th–early 5th century BCE
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General Description

Very little Archaic Greek jewelry has survived from antiquity, although the large variety of diadems, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets in vase painting and on sculpture leaves no doubt that such ornaments were extremely popular in 6th and 5th century BCE Greece. An exceptional piece from the Archaic period is this necklace, which is composed of gold globular beads and vase-shaped pendants. The alternating arrangement of the beads and pendants reflect a sense of order and rhythm that is characteristic of Archaic art.

This gold necklace has thirty-four hollow globular beads; forty oval beads, fluted lengthwise; and fifty-one amphora-shaped pendants. The beads are made from 2 halves; several include a wire ring set around the opening holes. The vase-shaped pendants, also made from two halves, have pierced thread holes in the necks, which are decorated with beaded and twisted wires. The top of each pendant is closed with a separately made disk decorated in repoussé with a stylized rosette.

Complete necklaces like this one are rare, but beads and pendants of the same shape (though made from bone, ivory, amber, or glass), have been found in Archaic deposits in several sanctuaries.

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), 61; 136.