Emeralds, sapphires, pearls and other gemmological materials from the Preslav gold treasure (X century) in Bulgaria

Emeralds, sapphires, pearls and other gemmological materials from the Preslav gold treasure (X century) in Bulgaria

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Emeralds, sapphires, pearls and other gemmological materials from the Preslav gold treasure (X century) in Bulgaria

Elisabeth Strack, and Ruslan I. Kostov



The Preslav gold treasure (adornments from gold decorated with enamel, beads of gem minerals and pearls: diadem, bilateral necklace, medallions, several earrings and earcaps, rings, buttons, appliqués and other small finds) was found in 1978 near the town of Veliki Preslav – the second Bulgarian capital during the еnd of the First Bulgarian Kingdom. The treasure (X century) belonged to a female member of the royal family and is suggested to be of a Byzantine origin. A morphometric study and gem testing was made on all the gemmological materials – minerals and numerous pearls. Among the gem minerals are identified 40 emeralds, 12 violet sapphires, 10 reddish violet garnets, 5 rock crystals, 3 amethysts and 1 carnelian. Their inclusions and type of cut are listed. The average dimensions for the emerald polished and rounded on the edges prisms from two medallions are: length 0.48 cm and width 0.59 cm. The average dimensions for the mainly barrel shaped sea pearls from a gold medallion are length 0.40 cm and diameter 0.45 cm. The origin of the emeralds is under discussion, and they are compared with other emerald finds in Europe, including from Bulgaria, from the Antiquity and Early Medieval Period. As a probable source for the gem minerals (emerald, sapphire, garnet), according to their inclusions, is suggested an Eastern (India and Sri Lanka) origin (alternative for the emeralds – the Hindou-Kush area), and the pearls are probably from the Indian Ocean of the Persian Gulf.

Резюме (Abstract in Bulgarian)

Преславското златно съкровище (златни украшения декорирани с емайл, мъниста от скъпо- ценни минерали и перли: диадема, двустранна огърлица, няколоко обеци и наушници, пръстени, копчета, декорации и други малки находки) е намерено през 1978 г. близо до град Велики Преслав – втората българска столица в края на Първото българско царство. Съкровището (X век) е с византийски произход и е принадлежало на лице от женски пол – представител на царската фамилия. Извършено е морфометрично изучаване и гемологична диагностика на ювелирните материали – минерали и множество перли. Сред скъпоценните минерали са идентифицирани 40 смарагда, 12 виолетови сапфири, 10 червеникаво виолетови гранати, 5 планински кристала, 3 аметиста и 1 карнеол. Отбелязани са техните включения и вида на обработка. Средните размери на заоблени и полирани смарагдови призми от два медальона са: дължина 0,48 cm и ширина 0,59 cm. Средните размери на предимно бъчвовидни морски перли от златен медаьон са дължина 0,40 cm и диаметър 0,45 cm.

Watch the video: Field Gemology in Northern Madagascar (July 2022).


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