Previous owner: Previously owned by
Date Made/Found: Around 650 AD
, British, 1821 - 1861
Material and Medium: Gold, garnet and silver
Accession Number: J93.708
Anglo-Saxon gold and garnet disc from White Low, Derbyshire. The records of the excavation of the barrow at White Low are very fragmentary. It seems that the intention was to level the barrow, which was on the commons of Winster.
The labourers carrying out the levelling work found a number of objects in the centre of the barrow, probably on the old ground surface. These were described as two yellow glass vessels, ceramic and glass beads, a decorated silver collar or bracelet, two large globular pots, traces of decayed wood with bronze fittings believed to be the remains of a box, and a gold and silver disc with garnet inlays. All but the last of these are now lost.
The decoration on the disc includes beaded gold wire in lines and spirals around the outer part. This includes four circular settings for single garnets, three of which survive. In the middle the disc is divided up into individual cells by strips of gold. The central cell is empty but some of the ones around it retain their garnets. Gold foil was placed at the bottom of each cell to reflect the light back through the garnet and make it sparkle.
This technique of setting garnets into cells is called cloisonné and was popular with the Anglo-Saxons. The jewellery from the famous ship burial at Sutton Hoo also used this technique, to spectacular effect.
Weston Park Museum