June 24 Art Minute: Greek, “Diadem”

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Greek, Diadem. Gold, garnet, and blue glass enamel inlay, about 250–150 BCE. 14 ½ inches.  Gift of The Apollo Society with additional funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 2005.45. Gallery 2 (Classic Court)

Greek, Diadem. Gold, garnet, and blue glass enamel inlay, about 250–150 BCE. 14 ½ inches. Gift of The Apollo Society with additional funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 2005.45. Gallery 2 (Classic Court)

Both Greek men and women wore jewelry, but the greatest variety was made for women. The most costly and elaborate objects were diadems and wreaths to adorn the head. Gold had been scarce in Greece until the conquests of Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE) supplied the riches of the Persian Empire. Thanks to aristocratic patrons and international standards of excellence, goldsmiths of the sophisticated Hellenistic period soon attained extraordinary heights of skill. This diadem was made in seven parts. The two straps each have three components: the terminal with loop, the chain strap, and the floral cuff. The central knot was fabricated from gold sheet, wire, granules, and inlays that were fused together. The parts were then joined using links, rivets, and wires.


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