A Greek gold Leaf from an Olive Wreath, ca. 2nd century BCE
A Greek gold Leaf from an Olive Wreath, ca. 2nd century BCE

A Greek gold Leaf from an Olive Wreath, ca. 2nd century BCE


Regular price$2,500 USD
  • Free USA shipping
    Free international shipping over $5,000

This delicate olive leaf was created by hammering a pure gold ingot to paper-thin thickness, then cut to form and accentuated with repoussé contour lines along the three lobes.  It originally formed part of a solid gold victory wreath.

For related examples see:  Rudolph, W. A Golden Legacy:  Ancient Jewelry from the Collection of Burton Y. Berry, Indiana University Art Museum, (1995)pg. 158-9, fig. 33.B. 

Background:   Gold wreaths were made imitating their natural counterparts in various forms, including oak, olive, ivy, vine, laurel, and myrtle. Most of these trees or plants have associations with various deities. Mythology says, for example, olive wreaths were made from the sacred olive tree that grew from where Athena struck her spear on the ground at the Acropolis.

Because of their fragility, gold wreaths were probably not meant to be worn very often, only during special functions such as banquets, as victors' prizes in war or athletic competitions, or on religious or civic occasions, but they are also frequently recovered from burials. In a funerary setting, the gold wreath symbolized immortality and designated an individual who had led a distinguished life.  For the ancient Greeks, the olive tree was a symbol of peace, wisdom, and triumph.

Condition:  Small tear and apex to one lobe missing, otherwise intact and in very good condition overall.

Dimensions: Length: 1 3/4 inches (4.5 cm)

Provenance:  Paul Ilton private collection, acquired prior to 1958 and then by descent.

We ship Tuesday to Friday with FedEx and usually same day if your order is received before 2pm. Within the continental USA, packing, shipping and insurance is free. Depending on size and destination, delivery times range from one to five business days.

For overseas shipments we charge a small flat rate which includes packing, preparation of all customs paperwork, insurance and carrier fees in compliance with all USA and International customs requirements.  Overseas shipments are sent using either USPS Priority Mail or FedEx but contact us if you have a shipping preference. International customers are responsible for all duties and taxes. 

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.