Collar Pendant

Date: late 5th–early 6th century

Culture: Ostrogothic

Medium: Gold - sheet; cells - garnets (patterned foil), glass (green); wire - beaded. Suspension Loops: gold - rod.

Dimensions: Overall: 1 3/4 x 9/16 x 1/4 in. (4.4 x 1.4 x 0.7 cm)

Classification: Metalwork-Gold

Credit Line: Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917

Accession Number: 17.190.698


This pendant, which would have originally been strung together with at least nine others to form a flat, collarlike necklace, came from the grave of an Ostrogothic woman in Domagnano on the Italian peninsula. The collar hung from two large brooches in the shape of eagles. A pair of earrings and another brooch for the neck completed the jewelry ensemble. All the pieces were made from remarkably pure gold, probably melted from coins or jewelry; their total weight, the equivalent of seventy gold coins from the period, attests to the high social rank of the woman who wore them. The garnets, pearls, ivory, and lapis lazuli set into the many tiny cells of the collar pendants and eagle brooches give further indication of the wealth of those Germanic settlers who had come to rule over the Romans in Italy.