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Exploring Ancient Creations this Leap Year


Exploring Ancient Creations this Leap Year

Tuesday 27th February 2024

Exploring Ancient Creations this Leap Year


By Alexandra Samuel

Once every four years, we celebrate a leap year. Rather than the usual 365 days a year, an extra day is added to the end of February to help keep the calendar synchronised with the seasons.  Whilst it took until the sixteenth century, and the Gregorian calendar to officially implement the leap year system we have today, as with many great innovations and traditions, it can be traced back further. The Ancient Egyptians were known to be among the first to introduce adding days to the calendar and in Ancient Rome, Julius Caesar even created a 'year of confusion' when he decreed that the year 46BC would be 445 days long! To commemorate the long history of the leap year, we are showcasing some pieces from the ancient world – out of the ordinary pieces for an out of the ordinary year!

Ancient Egyptian Scarab Ring, circa 664-332 BC

Finger rings began to emerge in Ancient Egypt around 2000BC, with the scarab beetle proving a popular motif as it was believed to symbolise eternal life. These were often created in faience and were drilled through the middle to incorporate them in rings. Their reverse was often carved with a seal and when attached to wire the scarab would swivel, allowing for the seal to be used. Faience was widely used in ancient Egyptian crafts, such as jewellery. Made up of a variety of materials, its bright blue hue was symbolic of rebirth and the sun. It was a popular material, perhaps used as an alternative to turquoise, and was as highly prized as gold and gemstones.

Ancient Greek gold filigree earrings, circa 5th-3rd Century BC

This pair of finely crafted gold earrings likely hail from classical Greece, an epoch associated with producing magnificent gold work. Filigree techniques were used to create decorative patterns, which mirrored the ornamentation in both architecture and painting and is shown beautifully in the floral design these earrings exhibit. Other ancient techniques, such as granulation- the skilled application of grains of gold, can also be seen in this piece, making it a real masterclass in skill and quality!

Parthian Gold Dress pins, circa 3rd Century BC-3rd Century AD

The Parthians obtained much of their wealth through lucrative trade networks. As a result there were substantial patronage of the arts and luxury goods, which included jewellery. Pins such as these would originally have held a much more functional purpose, as brooches and pins were often required to fasten clothing. Crafted from high carat gold, these pins have around 2000 years of history, and taking into account the size and width of these particular pins, these likely would have been used to fasten a cloak, or some other heavy garment. A beautifully matching pair, it is rare they have survived together and in such fine condition for so many millennia!

Ancient Roman Cameo ring, circa 3rd-4th Century AD

Amongst our collection of ancient roman intaglios, this cameo ring is a rarity. Carved in relief to leave a raised design on the surface, the cameo is a later innovation than the intaglio, and instead of having a function were purely decorative, worn by the upper echelons of society, indeed Roman Emperors were known to wear cameo rings with ceremonial dress! This particular cameo features a grotesque, a motif seen in ancient jewellery. Typically displaying exaggerated features, these grotesques are bald and often grimacing. It has been suggested that they were worn as a charm to ward off bad luck.

Whether you are a collector of ancient pieces, a history enthusiast, or just enjoy the aesthetic, beauty and craftsmanship of this incredible jewellery, visit Berganza today and explore the ancient world through its incredible creations and traditions.

Exploring Ancient Creations this Leap Year
Exploring Ancient Creations this Leap Year
Egyptian scarab swivel ring berganza hatton garden
Egyptian scarab swivel ring, circa 664-332 BC.
Ref: 26235
Egyptian scarab swivel ring, circa 664-332 BC.
Egyptian scarab swivel ring, circa 664-332 BC.
Greek filigree gold earrings berganza hatton garden
Greek filigree gold earrings, circa 5th-3rd century BC.
Ref: 24815
Greek filigree gold earrings berganza hatton garden
Greek filigree gold earrings, circa 5th-3rd century BC.
Ref: 24815
Parthian gold dress pins berganza hatton garden
Parthian gold dress pins, circa 3rd century BC-3rd century AD.
Ref: 23056
Ancient Roman cameo ring, circa 3rd-4th century AD.
Ancient Roman cameo ring, circa 3rd-4th century AD.
Ancient Roman cameo ring, circa 3rd 4th century AD hatton garden
Ancient Roman cameo ring, circa 3rd-4th century AD.
Ref: 27616
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Updated 23/07/2024 at 10:51AM

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