Christie’s London offers 3000-year-old Iron Age bracelet of solid gold at auction

chrigold-2A Celtic solid gold bracelet, Iron Age, circa 1000 B.C. 3¾ in. (9.5 cm.) diam. max.; weight 599.3 g. Estimate: £40,000 – 60,000.    Photo: Christie”s Images Ltd 2013

LONDON.- An exquisite solid gold bracelet made over 3000 years ago at the dawn of the European Iron Age will be among the highlights of the Antiquities sale on Thursday 2 May, at Christie’s South Kensington.

The heavy gold bracelet is believed to be the only one of its type still in private hands and comes to the market for the first time with an estimate of £40,000 to £60,000. With estimates ranging from £1,000 to £250,000, the sale features superb works of art that embrace the cultures of Egypt, Greece, Rome and the Near East.

The design of the bracelet, made with over half a kilo of high-purity gold, clearly demonstrates the technological advancements of the Iron Age. The new use of iron around 1000 B.C. brought two huge benefits to the goldsmith. Furnaces capable of achieving the high temperatures necessary for iron production provided craftsmen with the technology to melt larger masses of gold than before, while tools made out of the iron itself allowed craftsmen to become increasingly bold and ambitious with their designs.

The stunning piece of jewellery, featuring an intricate geometric pattern, was originally discovered in Portugal, part of the Iberian Peninsula where other museum-quality pieces were also uncovered during the mid-20th Century. Laetitia Delaloye, Specialist in the Antiquities department said: “This Antiquities sale features a selection of stunning artefacts with exceptional provenance. It follows our record-breaking sale in October 2012, where we set a new world record with an Egyptian sculpture of the goddess Isis, which sold for £3.6 million, sparking extreme competition amongst bidders.

The gold bracelet from the Iron Age is a special piece and it is extremely rare for us to see such a detailed example of early Iron Age craftsmanship on the market.”

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Janet Deleuse,

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