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Carnelian, 10x8 mm, head in profile (was damaged), 1st -2nd century A.D.


Gems

Display of gems (Cameos)

The gems fixed in filigree elements are older than the rest of the shrine. They date back to 1st century B.C. to 2nd century A.D., when their production in the classical Greece achieved the biggest boom. They are made off species of chalcedonyy (cornelian, onyx, agate and jasper), into which decoration with figures and animal motifs was engraved. Miniature precise work quite certainly required utilization of a magnifying glass, which they could have cut out of clear rock crystal. Cutting proceeded by the means of a miniature grinding stone rotating on a shaft. This technique is astonishing at dimensions of engravings, the used roundel achieving in some cases unbelievable proportions–only tenth of a millimetre. Into the Central Europe they got especially after the conquest of Constantinople by the crusaders in 1203. These gems were then secondarily fixed on the shrine as component of filigree strands in the unprecedented number of 68 pieces, together with other precious jewel stones.

 

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