A Hellenistic Gold Granulated Pendant, Eastern Mediterranean, ca. 3rd - 1st century BCE
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a fine gold pendant, the central spherical body decorated with pyramidal granulation clusters that taper away from the visible equatorial band that bisects the body, a cylindrical shaft extends from the top hemisphere of the body that is also decorated with granulation in random clusters, at the top of this shaft is a curled piece of gold for attachment, from the lower hemisphere extends a shorter protrusion that is capped with a sphere with further granulation.
Artisans of the Eastern Mediterranean used the iconography of Dionysus the Greek god of wine on many things, including jewelry. This Dionysian influence is evident in the granulation that takes the shape of grape clusters. This pendant is an excellent representation of the synthesis of Greek and Near Eastern elements. The grape motif dates back to the third millennium BC.
For related examples see: Rudolph, Wolf, Barbara Deppert-Lippitz, and Linda Baden. A Golden Legacy: Ancient Jewelry from the Burton Y. Berry Collection at the Indiana University Art Museum. Bloomington: Indiana University Art Museum in Association with Indiana UP, 1995. Pg 167 #35.B. Pendant 70.89.2.B.
Condition: Mild denting on the bottom hemisphere of the globular body, a small loss on the stringing loop at the top, some calcium carbonate/soil encrustation, otherwise intact and in excellent condition overall.
Dimensions: Height 3.1 cm (1.22 inches)
Provenance: Vernon Pick (1903 - 1986) private collection assembled in Switzerland in the late 1950s and then by descent to Pick's nephew, Mr. Jim Hanson, Minnesota. Vernon Pick, a middle-aged electrician from Minnesota, turned uranium prospecting into a multimillion-dollar proposition. After nine months of fruitless prospecting, Pick discovered uranium 75 miles southwest of Green River, in Emery County in Utah on June 21, 1952. He staked several claims and called them the Delta mines. In Utah, he proved up 300,000 tons of ore that Time magazine called “one of the richest finds in the Colorado Plateau.”. Two years later Pick sold his mine to international financier Floyd Odlum for $9 million and a custom-converted PBY airplane. Odlum renamed the mine the Hidden Splendor, but soon after his purchase the highly touted vein pinched out. Local wags then dubbed the mine "Odlum's Hidden Blunder."