a 7th-century goldsmith’s techniques

This is old news (old news = history!), but the fact that I’ve been examining garnet jewellery in minute detail recently and that there’s this comprehensive online page about this, I thought somebody might just be interested:
bronze die for making box pattern backing foil in cloisonné cells

origin: Wijnaldum (province of Friesland, the Netherlands), 1996, date: 7th century AD
Microscopic cleaning of unidentified finds from the Wijnaldum excavations in the laboratory revealed a positive die for making box pattern backing foil in cloisonné cells. Due to the disfiguring corrosion, the object had not yet been recognized as a die.
Dies for making patterned backing foil have so far been mainly found in Southern England, the region adjoining the current Waddenzee and Denmark. The treasure of Sutton Hoo, found in the 1930s during excavations at Woodbridge (Suffolk, England), is probably the most famous and appealing example of so-called cloisonné jewelry.
The most common standard foil of the Sutton Hoo jewellery has a line spacing of 4 lines/mm. The foil of the Wijnaldum brooch exhibits 4 to 5 lines/mm. Less fine spacing of 3.5 lines/mm is more prevalent in Anglo-Saxon garnet jewellery.

Scientific analysis of the gold disc-on-bow brooch – A.J. NIJBOER & J.E. VAN REEKUM

The skill and fine workmanship is so impressive – how can the period be called ‘The Dark Ages’!


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