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SKU: MJ2005

An Important Persian Eye Agate Pectoral, Parthian Period, ca. 1st century BCE - 1st century CE

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This exceptional pectoral was most probably worn directly on the chest to display the power, wealth, and divinity of its ancient owner. Indicating high social status, it well demonstrates the sophisticated skill of artisans within the cosmopolitan Parthian empire. Of rounded form, the pectoral features a prominent central eye agate, imbued, it was believed, with protective powers to ward off the evil eye and shield the wearer from illness and death. This agate has been carefully drilled across the center, and a small gold pin intricately runs the length of the stone in order to set it within a heavy, high-karat gold bezel. The bezel is finely edged with granulation, and embellished with five cabochon teardrop garnets, five cabochon rounded garnets, and one red glass cabochon, the latter no doubt a replacement in ancient times, for a lost garnet. Skillfully arranged between these gemstones are eleven raised gold bosses, all with granulation at the base. There are two suspension loops at the back for attachment.

The form of the pectoral and the method of inlaying are characteristic of Parthian jewelry, with such objects usually dating between the 1st and 3rd centuries. For a less elaborate example set as part of a necklace, see British Museum, object #W_1965-0215-1, https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/W_1965-0215-1.

Condition: The pectoral is intact and in excellent condition overall.  One of the garnet inlays replaced with glass in antiquity, and two small chips to the central agate professionally restored.  A large, unique and truly stunning example.

Dimensions: Length: 2 3/4 inches (7.2 cm), Width: 2 5/8 inches (6.6 cm)

Provenance: Private Australian collection acquired from the London trade in the early 1960s, thence by descent, thereafter private Virginia collection.
An Important Persian Eye Agate Pectoral, Parthian Period, ca. 1st century BCE - 1st century CE
An Important Persian Eye Agate Pectoral, Parthian Period, ca. 1st century BCE - 1st century CE Sale price0 USD