• Your shopping cart is empty.

Late 13th–17th-century gold jewellery in archaeological research data from the Vilnius Lower Castle territory

The Treasury of the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania has on display jewellery artefacts made from precious metals and gemstones, found during archaeological excavation. Eighteen of the objects are made of gold and were discovered in cultural layers dating to the late 13th–17th centuries. These are rings (10 in all, of which 4 are set with gemstones), mounts and decorative details (5), a chain, a tassel and a pearl on a golden wire. This is the largest number of gold jewellery artefacts to have been found during archaeological research conducted in Vilnius.
The late 13th–17th-century gold jewellery artefacts are made of an alloy of gold, silver and copper in which the quantity of gold ranges from 50 to 98 per cent. Some of the pieces (mounts, decorative details) were made from a very thin sheet of gold, while the other jewellery was cast, features repousse work or engraving, or are decorated with enamels of various colours (blue, white, black, dark green, red) and ornaments (floral geometric, anthropomorphic). Some rings are set with gemstones including a garnet, diamond, ruby and turquoise.
The oldest gold artefact is a band ring (No.M 1316). It is made from a high-quality gold alloy, decorated with a floral ornament and is filled with blue enamel. It dates to the 1280s. At a similar time, on February 13, 1292, the Riga book of debts mentions the first goldsmith in Lithuania – Jacobus aurifaber regis Lettowie – Jacob the goldsmith.
The goldsmithery workshop at the residence of the Lithuanian grand dukes was mentioned in historic sources – goldsmiths have been entered in the court accounts of the ruler of Lithuania and Poland Alexander Jagiellon (1492/1501–1506), while there were as many as 14 working in the court of the Grand Duke of Lithuania and King of Poland Sigismund Augustus (1544/1548–1572) in 15441572 (9 Italians and 5 Germans); records show that an additional 14 goldsmiths and 8 apprentices were also paid for their work. There are also entries indicating that in 1553, Venetian gold and silver was brought to the Vilnius ruler's court on several occasions. This data is supplemented by the jewellery artefacts made from precious metals and the tools used by goldsmiths in their work – crucibles (small ceramic vessels) with droplets of gold and silver – found in cultural layers in the Vilnius Lower Castle territory.
Material compiled by Rasa Gliebutė
Published:: 2023-02-23 16:40 Modified: 2024-04-19 13:03
smart foreash ccms6
This site uses cookies. They can identify logged-in users, collect statistics, and help to improve browsing experience for each visitor individually.
Learn more about our Privacy Policy