Necklace

CULTURE:
Greek
DATE:
6th–5th century BCE
more object details

General Description

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 warms 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. Ancient Greek necklaces were usually strung on perishable strings. For this reason, the proper arrangement of the different elements is often uncertain.

Here thirty-three large globular coral beads are arranged in an alternating order with thirty-three small biconical gold beads. A ribbed tube at both ends of the necklace is used as a finial. The elements are on a modern thread. Ancient coral beads are extremely rare, as they preserve poorly. Biconical beads are characteristic for the Archaic period.

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; 137.
  • DMA unpublished material.