Pectoral ornament, late 19th–early 20th century
Attributed to Central Asia or Iran
Silver, fire gilded with punched and stamped openwork decoration, silver twisted chains with embossed pendants, and table–cut carnelians; 8 1/2 x 9 3/4 in. (21.6 x 24.8 cm)
Gift of Marshall and Marilyn R. Wolf, 2008 (2008.579.6)
The hexagonal shape, or gönzuk, represents the mountain motif; the table-cut carnelians protect the wearer from illness, and the openwork decoration of double-leaf designs is a motif symbolizing the growth and endurance of human existence. The hexagon, rhombus, and triangle are the most common shapes used in pectoral jewelry; they were believed to ward off evil in addition to fulfilling the practical purpose of fastening clothing.