Gold Necklace with Gold Cross, Two Amethysts, and an Emerald Plasma
- 6th–7th century
- Gold, amethyst, emerald plasma
- Overall (chain): 17 5/8 x 1/2 x 3/16 in. (44.8 x 1.2 x 0.4 cm)
Overall (pendant): 1 x 13/16 x 1/4 in. (2.5 x 2 x 0.7 cm)
- Credit Line:
- Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
- Accession Number:
The cross, chased into the gold ground, was originally the reverse of the pendant, with a cameo or carved gemstone on the front.
As Christianity became the dominant religion in Byzantine society, Christian imagery was increasingly found on jewelry. Crosses appear by the fifth century; the Virgin Mary, saints, angels, and other holy figures became popular in the sixth century. The images were thought to protect the wearer, aid in prayers, and even perform miracles.