A Greek Gold Pomegranate Necklace, Hellenistic Period, ca. 3rd - 2nd century BCE
Object No: GJ2006
Classical meets neo-classical in this fabulous gold necklace. Thirteen ancient gold pomegranates are strung between delicate ancient gold melon beads - twenty-eight in total - that are supported by neoclassical granulated spacers. Add twenty-six antique gold melon style beads to complete the necklace and the effect is memorizing! The necklace has been restrung with professional 24K plated gold wiring and features an 18K gold S clasp (not shown in photos). In Hellenistic times, jewelry often passed from generation to generation as family heirlooms. Designed to be worn, this is a piece that will be treasured for another 2000 years.
Background: Throughout history, the pomegranate has been a symbol of humanity’s central beliefs and ideals, namely, life and death, rebirth and eternal life, fertility and marriage, and abundance. In Ancient Greek mythology, pomegranates were often offered to the goddess Demeter in prayer for fertile land. In Judaism, pomegranates were the fruits brought to Moses to demonstrate the fertility of the promised land, and King Solomon is said to have designed his coronet based on the fruit’s serrated crown-like calyx. In Christianity, the pomegranate symbology appears on vestments or liturgical hangings and is a common emblem used in religious paintings, including those by Botticelli and da Vinci, where it is usually seen in the hands of the Virgin Mary or the infant Jesus. In Islam, the Qur’an mentions that pomegranates grow in the gardens of Paradise, and in Hinduism, Persian and Chinese culture, the pomegranate is also considered a symbol of fertility and procreation, associated with earth goddesses. Today, it is customary for Greeks to adorn the table with pomegranates (known as ‘polysporia’ meaning ‘many-seeded’) and on New Year’s Day break a pomegranate on the ground. On moving into a new home, house guests traditionally bring pomegranates as a symbol of abundance, fertility, and good luck for the new owner.Condition: The ancient beads show minor signs of wear, some of the pomegranates carry expected small dents to the body that do not detract. This true also for some of the Hellenistic melon beads but you have to get up close and personal to notice. All the neoclassical beads are, of course, pristine.
Dimensions: Length: 16 1/2 inches (41.9 cm) (can be lengthened upon request).
Provenance: Private collection, acquired from Astarte Gallery, Audrey Davis, Britannia Hotel, W1, around 1995.
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