Friday, June 20, 2014

so very small

Our plucky heroine is currently obsessed with tiny Anglo Saxon cloisonne brooches. I have been researching all I can find, managed to locate two different archaeological reports (by David Buckton, in "Medieval Archaeology") but have not been able to answer a question that puzzles me: what did they use to attach/hold the enamels and the even tinier little glass spheres to the brooch metal? The bezels are not crimped over as is done in modern jewelery (my background is in modern enamel and metalwork).

I suspect that they were held in place with pitch or some other glue-like substance... but would love to know more... so obsessed geeky girl decided last night to send an email to the British Museum regarding my question: what did they use to attach/hold the enamels and the even tinier little glass spheres to the brooch metal... I am quite excited, today I had a reply to my email that I sent to the Portable Antiquities section of the British Museum - they are " forwarding your email to our National Finds Adviser Kevin Leahy, who is a guru on Anglo-Saxon metalwork! He will be able to tell you more about A-S artefacts." ...

I shall certainly share whatever information they are able to tell me, and am astonished and delighted that my query was taken seriously (geeky girl suffering from a serious case of "who, li'l ol' me...?)

These are not all the extant brooches, just the ones I have managed to find photos of...
they are tiny, the enamels range between 15mm to 18mm (5/8 to 3/4") across.


June SMART goal challenge
1 thread-winders SR silver chain  backyard yardwaste
2 red rose
heart pendant
backyard meadow
bag to paper recycling
3 red rose earrings half craftwall
bag to paper recycling
4 2nd sports bra sleeve bands
on green gown
bag to paper recycling
5 duvet cover SPQR pendant
metal scrap to recycling
6 embroidered
red horses
* bag to Goodwill
7 * * bag to Goodwill
8 * * paper recycling
9 * * *
10 ---------- * *
11 ---------- * *
12 ---------- * *
13 ---------- * *
14 ---------- ---------- *
15 ---------- ---------- *
16 ---------- ---------- *
17 ---------- ---------- *
18 ---------- ---------- *


  1. How thrilling to have a correspondence w/the British Museum!! The tiny enamels are so beautiful. I'm looking forward to seeing the pieces that come out of your kiln!

    1. I know, I was so absolutely astonished that I practically leapt out of my seat! Am planning on doing some wire-bending and enameling this weekend...