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This is a wonderful Anglo Saxon period gold spacer bead, dating to the 7th century A.D. It is decorated with twisted wirework rim, in excavated condition with a few dints. These biconical spacer beads belong to a rapidly expanding group of elements belonging to high-status necklaces which became fashionable during the seventh century. The necklaces were strung with a variety of pendants, often containing contemporary garnet cabochons, but also earlier, fifth century, cut stones and late Roman millefiori or mosaic glass like the examples from the North Downs. Each of the North Downs pendants would have been flanked by gold biconical spacer beads and together with several more similar pendants would have made up a high-status neckIace comparable to those found at Desborough, Northamptonshire (Leslie Webster and Janet Backhouse, 'The Making of England, Anglo-Saxon Art and Culture, AD 600-900', 1991, Cat. No.13) or Sarre, Kent, whose centerpiece is a pendant mounted with a magnificent fragment of millefiori glass (Ronald Jessup, 'Anglo-Saxon Jewellery, London 1959, Pl. XXVII). See also KENT-7009B3 and WMID-033CC3 for further discussion.
CULTURE: Anglo Saxon
DATE: c. 7th century A.D.
SIZE: 22mm x 10mm
WEIGHT: 1.41 grams
PROVENANCE: Ex. Private Collection, Hertfordshire.