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Islamic Necklace or Bracelet Element

Composed of gold sheet over a lac or resin core, set with a large sapphire cabochon with a gold inclusion secured by prongs, and a smaller bezel-set glass cabochon. Details in twisted, “beaded” and round wire throughout, areas of the top inlaid with panels of niello arabesques, and the entirety of the underside intricately decorated with foliate interlace niello inlay. Coiled wire loops about the edge and between the two elements might have accommodated wires strung with seed-pearl beads, or were used to secure the piece to a leather or textile backing. The sapphire would have been highly prized for its size and the gold inclusion; drilling indicates it was appropriated from an earlier piece of jewelry.

Khurasan, 12th Century

Height: 52 mm. (2 1/16 in.)

Width: 33 mm (1 5/16 in.)


ex: private American estate collection, acquired in New York 1987

Published: Antiquarium; Ancient Treasures XX. (London, 2022) p.45

Comparandum: Spink, M & Jack Ogden; The Art of Adornment: Jewellery of the Islamic Lands. Part 1 (London, 2013) nos. 265–267, p. 300

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