KENT-D06625: Gold filigree brooch

Rights Holder: Kent County Council
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Unique ID: KENT-D06625

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

An incomplete gold and gemstone annular brooch of medieval date (c.1200-1350).

Description: The brooch is bent at numerous points and so it is not possible to know its original form and whether it lay flat or rose towards the centre. In cross-section, the frame is sub-rectangular, having slightly rounded internal and external edges due to the application of cord-effect wire. The surface of the frame has filigree decoration in the form of conical, spiralling coils of the same corded wire. Generally, these have been applied in two rows: the inside row being made up of smaller coils, the outside row of larger coils. The coils each have granules applied to them at various points down the spirals. At six points on the outside row of coils, tubular collets made from rectangular sheets of gold have been placed, all equidistant from one another. The edges where these have been curled around to join are visible and the the tops are slightly folded inwards and bevelled. Two of the collets retain their gemstone settings while two were found with the brooch and the remaining two were missing. The gemstones are smooth, cabochon-cut garnets of different shades of red and pink and a citrine.  

The frame is punctured on the inner half with a hole through which the attachment loop of a pin is threaded. This loop wraps around the internal edge of the frame and straightens on the underside. The pin is D-shaped in cross section and triangular in plan so that it tapers to a point. Where the attachment loop meets the pin, a rectangular, transverse raised collar with delicate engraving joins the two. 

The underside of the frame is undecorated but appears to show some bubbling. 

Measurements: Diameter: 27mm; thickness: 4.28mm; length of pin: 21mm; weight: 4.14g

Discussion: The design of this brooch, in terms of shape, form and decoration most closely resembles 'the waterford ring brooch' found in Waterford, Ireland and dated to c.1210. The similarities include: the corded wire applied to the inner and outer edges of the front of the frame; applied spiralling coils of the same corded wire with granules; tubular collets set with stones; a pin with a decorated sub-rectangular collar; a punched hole on the inner half of the frame for the pin's attachment loop. 

Another 'ring' brooch with the same pin attachment held in the Met Musuem's collections (2006.257) was found in the Rhineland and is dated to c.1340-1349. Like the one recorded here, this example features six gemstones of alternating colours set in tubular collets and corded wire set on the frame's inner and outer edges. 

Further ring brooches with alternating-colour gemstone settings include MET2013.453 (Met Museum) dated c.1250-1300; LVPL-039CF2 on this database dated c.1280-1320; WMID-86D485 on this database dated c.1200-1350; and BMAF.2683 (British Museum) dated 13th century. A date of 13th to mid-14th century is thus suggested here.

Class: Annular

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Submitted for consideration as Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2020T978


Broad period: MEDIEVAL
Period from: MEDIEVAL
Period to: MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 1200
Date to: Circa AD 1350

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 27 mm
Thickness: 4.28 mm
Weight: 4.14 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Sunday 6th September 2020

Personal details

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Other reference numbers

Treasure case number: 2020T978

Materials and construction

Primary material: Gold
Secondary material: Gem
Manufacture method: Hand made
Completeness: Incomplete

Spatial metadata

Region: South East (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Kent (County)
District: Swale (District)
To be known as: Eastchurch

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: GPS (from the finder)
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: KENT
Created: About one year ago
Updated: 7 months ago

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