University of Oxford
5 files

Two amethyst beads, mounted on gold wire?

online resource
posted on 2021-10-27, 19:21 authored by Helena HamerowHelena Hamerow
Two amethysts, drop shaped, length 2cm, approx. One, flatter and thinner than the other and almost translucent (M 6622) clearly shows the way it was bored from either end. The other (M 6623) is thicker and duller through being more flawed. Both are carefully shaped and polished, with sharp edges and flattened ends. Both have what appear to be dull gold wire loops, a simply loop at the top doubled back into the hole, and a spiral twist at the bottom. At first sight this appears modern, but though Faussett does not illustrate them in the MS Diary [Liverpool] he does figure them with wire loops in MS 723 [Society of Antiquaries], with however S-shaped hooks which are not recorded from this grave. Clearly the wire fittings were in place when the drawings were made, though they are not mentioned in the text. But why does he show S-shaped hooks one wonders? That the combination is plausible, see comparanda, but he couldn't know though he might have guessed. For similar hooks, even possibly the same pair, see Kingston Down grave 121, found near the neck.Originally attributed to Barfreston grave 48 in Inventorium Sepulchrale, but both M 6622 and M 6623 belong in Sibertswold grave 172.Published in Faussett 1856 these amethyst beads were attributed to Barfrestone grave 48. However, based on their appearance in MS 723 folio 23, SCH attributed them to Sibertswold grave 172 (M 6622 and M 6623). Images of these two amethysts are shown with both graves. – B.B. & D.H.


Grave ID

Sibertswold Downs Grave 172

Object ID


Catalogue Number

M 6622 & M 6623


amethyst, gold (Sonia Hawkes Material Notes; amethyst, gold) (Antiquarian Material; amethyst)

Complete Keyword List (Including Alternatives)

mounted beads, pendants (Sonia Hawkes Keyword; wire) (Antiquarian Keyword; N/A)




National Museums Liverpool


Mayer Collection

Original Collection


Category ID


Usage metrics

    The Novum Inventorium Sepulchrale