Open-Ring Brooch

Date: early 800s

Geography: Made in Galway, Ireland

Culture: Pictish or Irish

Medium: Silver, cast and partially gilded; amber cabochons

Dimensions: Overall: 2 1/16 x 3 11/16 x 11/16 x 3 3/4 in. (5.2 x 9.3 x 1.8 x 9.5 cm)

Classification: Metalwork-Silver

Credit Line: Purchase, Rogers Fund, and Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, by exchange, 1981

Accession Number: 1981.413


Iron Age Celts of Britain were the first to develop the open ring brooch, a type that would remain widespread in Great Britain and Ireland through the early Middle Ages. Each terminal of this example in silver is decorated with three stylized masks in the form of birds' or bats' heads, enframing a polished amber.