Necklace from the Pantalica Treasure
The present necklace is of particular importance not only because it is among the few necklaces of which the find spot is recorded, but also because it comes from a dated hoard. It was one of fourteen pieces of Byzantine jewellery found in the Necropolis of Pantalica, Sicily, in 1903, together with a group of coins minted for a specific set of emperors, providing a terminus ante quem for the burial somewhere around 670-690. Several of the jewels from the hoard entered the collection of John Pierpont Morgan in New York, only to be dispersed again at his estate sale in 1944. Since then only one other of the six necklaces from the find has been located: it was part of the Rorimer collection in New York in 1979. Both known necklaces from the Pantalica Treasure are of superlative quality but the present necklace is distinguished by its incorporation of thirteen sapphires, including one of exceptional size at its centre.