Star-Shaped Brooch with Intaglio

Date: ca. 950–1000 (setting); 337–50 (intaglio)

Culture: Ottonian (Rhineland (?)) (setting); Byzantine (intaglio)

Medium: Star sapphire, pearls, gold

Dimensions: Overall: Diam. 4 11/16 x 3/4 in. (Diam.11.9 x 1.9 cm)

Classification: Metalwork-Gold

Credit Line: The Cloisters Collection, 1988

Accession Number: 1988.15


This sumptuous object was created to preserve a rare gem carved with the likeness of one of Constantine's sons. The Ottonian emperors regarded themselves as the inheritors of the Christian Roman empire established by Constantine, and this piece was likely commissioned by a member of the Ottonian imperial family.