Gilt-metal necklace, Bulgaria

late 1800s

British Museum

British Museum

Necklace; consisting of a woven choker made from silver alloy wire, with central front fastening. Gilded metal overlay on front half of woven choker, set with alternating red and green glass stones, and a vertical row of three red and yellow stones at the clasp. At the front hang seven chains each with three stamped gilt-metal discs with relief decoration, linked at the base. Rosettes at top of each chain and crescents at the bottom, all enamelled in blue and green. Two additional cresecents hang straight from choker at each side, decorated with imitation enamel.

This necklace with its multiple hanging chains ending in enamelled crescents is characteristic of Western Bulgaria. The crescents at each side with no chain and imitation enamel are perhaps later additions. For similar necklaces, see M. Veleva and S. Blagoeva, 'Bulgarian National Costumes and Folk Jewellery', Sofia 1983m p. 99, fig. 206, a woman from Sandanski, and p. 143, fig. 50, a necklace from Samokov. See also D. Drumev, 'Héritage Artistique Bulgare: Orfèvrerie', Sofia 1976, p. 475, fig. 523, for an example with plaited band.
This type of necklace was also worn in neighbouring south-east Serbia, see see Jelena Tešić, 'Bridal Jewellery among Serbs in XIX and first half of the XX century', exhibition catalogue, Ethnographic Museum Belgrade 2003, p. 59 and cat. 113, p. 124, an 'ogrlitsa' from south-east Serbia.

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  • Title: Gilt-metal necklace, Bulgaria
  • Date Created: late 1800s
  • Location Created: Samokov, west Bulgaria
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 2.2 centimetres (choker only) Height: 13 centimetres (choker with pendants) Width: 11.5 centimetres Depth: 10.5 centimetres
  • Provenance: Given by Mercia MacDermott
  • Copyright: © The Trustees of The British Museum
  • British Museum link: Eu2004,01.20


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