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Historical Jewelry


#1

(was Sumerian jewelry)

My favorites are the gold and garnet cloisonne work from Europe -
like the Sutton Hoo treasure. There are a lot of less spectacular
pieces, generally lumped under the term Kentish gold jewelry, but it
apparently comes from the continent and Scandinavia as well. Hard
to find pictures of. There’s some in the Walther museum in
Baltimore, but it’s years since I’ve seen it.

Tas


#2

Ok Tas I’ll bite. Number one I think you have some terms confused. I
think you mean cannetille work when referring to garnet jewelry from
Europe.’. Sutton Hoo had no cloisonne work that I’m aware of. And
I’ve never heard the term “kentish”, could you mean Celtic. Karel


#3

I was just in the City Museum of Worms, Germany a few weeks ago & was
surprised to see a sword with the typical Anglo-Saxon garnet slab &
gold inlay work that I had always associated with the Sutton Hoo
find. Does any one know how wide spread this technique was? I am
very familiar with jewelry from pre-12th Century Scandinavia & don’t
remember seeing the particular format used in that culture (the
technique was used to set glass & other stones, but not the slabs of
garnet like in Sutton Hoo). Thanks, Jim


#4
  Number one I think you have some terms confused. I think you mean
cannetille work when referring to garnet jewelry from Europe.'.
Sutton Hoo had no cloisonne work that I'm aware of. And I've never
heard the term "kentish", could you mean Celtic. 

It’s been called many things. But the cloisonne work I’m talking
about has tiny flat shapes of garnet cut to fit within gold cells.
Lidded cloisons apparently comprise the plain gold areas. If one
must be a purist about the term cloisonne and insist that it be
enamel - well, that’s not what some of the historical references
call it. “Cannetille” is more a cross between filigree and
metal-thread embroidery.

Tas


#5
garnet slab & gold inlay work that I had always associated with the
Sutton Hoo find. Does any one know how wide spread this technique
was? 

I seem to remember that it was found in the British Isles and places
on the continent, the latter of which surprised me at the time. I
wonder where the garnets were coming from - chances are, the style
radiated outward from there.

Tas


#6

Tas, I’m pretty sure I know the pieces in the Sutton Hoo find you
mean, and the only term I know of for that technique is polychrome
inlay. (That is, the use of gem material to provide coloured
decoration through inlay) That, and the style is sometimes referred
to as a ‘ribbon’ pattern, as far as the flowing, overlapping borders go.


#7
    Sutton Hoo had no cloisonne work that I'm aware of.  

Sutton Hoo did have some beautiful cloisonne work on something like
purse facings. You can find it in some of the Art History books.
Donna in VA


#8

Jim, Since the find at Sutton-Hoo is a Germanic burial, it should not
surprise you that their artifacts are of a Germanic style. Saxony,
after all is in Germany. Jerry in Kodiak


#9
Ok Tas I'll bite. Number one I think you have some terms confused. I
think you mean cannetille work when referring to garnet jewelry from
Europe.'. Sutton Hoo had no cloisonne work that I'm aware of. And
I've never heard the term "kentish", could you mean Celtic.

There is a specific style of metal/jewelry associated with the
Kent region dating from Anglo/Saxon culture of the 6th to 8th
century. It is quite different from the styles associated with
typical Celtic styles. You are quite correct that the Sutton Hoo
and it’s cousins are garnet and glass inlay. Cloisonne came about
to emulate, and later surpass the cutwork inlay.

Ron Charlotte – Gainesville, FL
@Ron_Charlotte1 OR afn03234@afn.org


#10
I seem to remember that it was found in the British Isles and
places on the continent, the latter of which surprised me at the
time.  I wonder where the garnets were coming from - chances are,
the style radiated outward from there.  

Tas and others, I don’t post much any more but maybe I can help out
on this one. The Romans loved garnets in all their wonderful variety
and used them mainly as decorative cabochons in medallions. They had
many sources for fine garnet throughout the Empire including Bohemia
and points throughout the Middle East.

In the late Roman period a new garnet jewelry tradition emerged,
apparently beginning in south Russia. It consisted of flat-cut
garnets polished on both sides and mounted in gold cloissons
(frameworks). These were at first glued in place but during the
so-called Dark Ages many European kings retained the finest
goldsmiths available and garnet cloissone jewelry became something
of an art form. (It’s definitely cloissone even though today the
term is used almost exclusively for cloissons filled with enamel
instead of real gem stones).

The Sutton Hoo treasure, dating from the 7th century, features what
is considered the finest garnet cloissone known. It came from an
Anglo Saxon king’s funerary ship burial in East Anglia discovered in
1939. It yielded 45 pieces of jewelry that incorporates about 4,000
garnets individually cut and polished to fit exactly into the
cloissons – no glue is used. They are held only by the precision of
the fit. The creators also understood the "dark garnet problem"
known very well to modern day gem cutters. Some garnets have such
deeply saturated color they’re attractive only in transmitted, not
reflected light. For that reason the goldsmiths used polished gold
foil at the bottom of the settings to mirror light back through the
thinly-cut stones, yielding a fine red. Gem-grade garnets today, of
course, are cut from select and scarce lighter-hued gem material.

I’ve seen this collection at the British Museum and it is humbling
to realize such fine work was accomplished with what today we would
consider primitive tools. Some of the stones are under 1 mm. in
diameter and intricately shaped. Experts on the subject say this
jewelry tradition died with the owner of the Sutton Hoo trove in 622
A.D. No more of its type has been found.

Rick Martin


#11

“Bulk” garnet - -large crystals - frequently occurs in lumps that
are too fractures to cut large, deep stones from. However, garnet
has a tendency to cleave into plates, a happy accident that may have
prompted the ancient artisans to take these plates and cut them into
shapes like construction paper. Those of you who are lucky enough
to have seen the material that came out of the Adirondacks before
the 70s or so have seen this quality - lumps of garnet as big as
watermelons, all fractured into thin flat plates.

Tas