Millennia-old gold jewelry comprises Leclere auction Oct. 6

ancient jewelry

Complete and fine quality Classical Greek strap necklace with central Herakles knot motif, second century B.C. Estimate: €100,000-€150,000. Leclere image


MARSEILLE, France – Leclere will conduct an auction of ancient jewelry on Friday, Oct. 6, consisting of 13 lots. The auction is titled simply “Antique Gold”– certainly an understatement. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

Two lots carry presale estimates of €100,000-€150,000 ($117,485-$176,223). One is a second century B.C. Classical Greek strap necklace (above) with a central Herakles knot motif. The front faces have a rosette and acanthus motif in spiral-beaded wire, and there is a border of beaded wire. The Herakles knot, a well-known Greek form, is decorated with similar filigree with scrolls, vine leaves, rosettes and a central larger multi-tier rosette.

Also expected to achieve €100,000-€150,000 is a gold diadem (below) in the form of a tapering U-shape band with spool-beaded wire borders and elaborate scrolling floral motifs along it in sheet gold and filigree. The workmanship is fine with the filigree combining spiral-beaded wire, tapering scrolls and granulation. The motifs include rosettes, scrolling tendrils and trumpet-shape flowers, the latter skillfully rendered, even with minute gold wire stamens. A wide variety of diadem types are known from the later Classical and early Hellenistic period.


ancient jewelry

Gold filigree diadem, U-shape head ornament. Estimate: €100,000-€150,000. Leclere image


Two gold bracelets with rare banded onyx cameos of a lion and a dolphin offered in the auction are about 20,000 years old. Each bracelet consists of a corrugated tubular hoop in sheet gold of semi-circular cross section terminating in collars decorated with filigree and a single small cabochon garnet. The opposing direction in which the lion and dolphin face and the sides which held the fastening pegs, show that the bracelets were intended as a pair. This mirror imaging is characteristic of the finer bracelets from the Classical world.


ancient jewelry

Pair of important gold bracelets with banded onyx cameos, first century B.C.-first century A.D. Estimate: €80,000-€100,000. Leclere image


The auction will open with a pair of lunate gold earrings, circa 300 B.C. The earrings are of box-like construction in a lunate, or crescent, shape. There is an arching attachment loop and the edge and side walls of the lower section are decorated with filigree and granulation. The filigree forms rosettes and scrolls, with central acanthus-like motifs, and is composed of plain and spiral-beaded wire. The outer borders are formed by a line of granules. The lunate form was used for earrings from the earliest times. The construction and decoration here is typical of the late Classical and early Hellenistic periods.


ancient jewelry

Pair of lunate gold earrings, circa 300 B.C., having construction and decoration typical of the late Classical and early Hellenistic periods. Estimate: €5,000-€7,000. Leclere image


Sarmatian pendants are known with various configurations. The example in the Leclere auction dates to about the first century and takes the form of a near-circular setting in sheet gold containing a cabochon carnelian. The carnelian is bordered by concentric beaded and twisted wires and has a raised granulated lip. There are three chain drops terminating in small sheet gold sphere pendants.


ancient jewelry

Sarmatian gold and carnelian pendant, circa first century. Estimate: €2,000-€3,000. Leclere image


Friday’s auction will begin at 9 a.m. Eastern time.