Subjects

Garnet

archaeology
materials

A gemstone, which is generally red-purple or red-orange in colour. Sources include Brazil, Bohemia, the Urals, India and Sri Lanka. It was commonly used as a decorative inlay on jewelry, sword fittings and other items during the early Anglo-Saxon period - the classic instance being the Sutton Hoo Treasure. Sometimes rounded shapes were used, with working being restricted to simple polishing, as with pendant inlays. More commonly, a technique called cloisonne was used. In this, the garnets were laboriously cut using saws and abrasives into thin geometric shapes, then polished and set into metal cells (often of gold, though the technique was also used on copper alloy jewellery). Gold foil was placed behind the stones (secured by a paste), which helped both to anchor them in place and intensify the colour.

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