Ancient Art International

Sassanian Gold and Turquoise Pendant

Item Number: 7196
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224 to 651 CE
1 1/4" (3 cm)
Gold & Turquoise
Very fine
Persia (today's Iran)
Acquired in the early 70’s by the present owner from an old French collection.


A wonderful example of ancient workmanship. 8 pointed pendant is in the shape of a star with granulation around its circumference. It can be hung either vertically or horizontally. Eminently wearable in its beautiful condition. The Sassanian Dynasty was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, which succeeded the Parthian Empire, and was recognized as one of the two main powers in Western Asia and Europe, alongside the Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire, for a period of more than 400 years. It encompassed all of today's Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, eastern Syria, the Caucasus (Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Dagestan), southwestern Central Asia, part of Turkey, some parts of the Arabian Peninsula, the Persian Gulf, and southwestern Pakistan.

Granulation was the type of decoration in which tiny balls of gold are applied to a surface in geometric or linear patterns or massed to fill in parts of a decoration. First used as early as the 3rd millennium BCE, it was known in western Asia and Egypt. The technique as practiced by the ancient Greeks, especially immediately following the Mycenaean Age, achieved an amazing fineness and could produce a texture of great richness.

The art of granulation probably reached its peak with the Etruscans between the 7th and 6th centuries BCE, in the elaborately granulated and embossed earrings, pronged shoulder clasps (for cloaks) modeled with gold-granulated sphinxes and lions, and beads found in Etruscan tombs. Granulation was spread widely in southern Asia, particularly in India and Persia, through contact with the Roman Empire.

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