Cluster Brooch with Letters Spelling "Amor"

Date: mid-15th century

Culture: French

Medium: Gold, pearl, emerald, silver pin

Dimensions: Overall: 1 1/8 x 15/16 x 9/16 in. (2.9 x 2.4 x 1.4 cm)

Classification: Metalwork-Gold

Credit Line: The Cloisters Collection, 1957

Accession Number: 57.26.1


This gold cluster jewel includes the Latin word amor (love) in delicate gold letters. It could have been worn either as a pendant or a brooch, and in portraits of young women many similar jewels are seen in their hair or at the shoulder or neck. Expensive jewelry played an important role in betrothal and marriage, and the groom gave brooches to the bride as tokens of love. In 1447, for example, Marco Parenti gave his betrothed, Caterina Strozzi, a golden brooch with two sapphires and three pearls to be worn on her shoulder.