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This is a nice Norman period ring-brooch, dating to the 12th - 13th century AD. Ring-brooches are the most common type medieval brooch to survive and had a practical function: to fasten tunics, especially at the neck. Shaped as rings, with a long central pin, these brooches varied enormously in size and could be tiny, smaller than a fingernail. Ring-brooches were made of costly gold or silver, or of much cheaper copper or pewter. They were worn mostly until the late fourteenth century when changing fashions in dress included more closely tailored clothes and the growing use of button fastenings.
This example is decorated in the openwork Romanesque taste with two lions, drilled eyes for glass inlay (missing). Much of the original mercurial gold gilding remains, sadly missing the original pin. A nice brooch in good excavated condition.
DATE: c. 1100 - 1200 AD
SIZE: 26.60mm x 24.54mm x 6.75mm
WEIGHT: 8.77 grams
PROVENANCE: Formerly in a Private Collection, Antrim. Northern Ireland.