Star-shaped brooch with intaglio sapphire

Date: 950-1000 (brooch); 337-50 (intaglio sapphire)

Place of Production: Ottonian Empire (brooch); Eastern Roman Empire (intaglio sapphire)

Description: Jewels conceived of as microarchitecure are one of the distinctive hallmarks of Ottonian goldsmiths’ work. This brooch is composed of a series of arcaded gold cells, linked together to form a star, but its definite horizontal and vertical axes, in fact, make it cross shaped. Because the brooch was buried some gems are missing. Although most of the spaces between the arms of the cross still contain pearls, the arms themselves probably would have been set with amethysts. Raised above the arcaded cluster is an arcaded rotunda that supports a large star-sapphire intaglio.

Held at: Metropolitan Museum of New York

Accession Number: 1988.15

Images in Public Domain