AMARANTHINE: Flowers of Hellenic Adornment, Kallos Gallery, 14 – 16 Davies Street, London W1, until 18th December 2015
The word Amaranthine is appropriate for this rather special exhibition as it is derived from Ancient Greek and means beautiful, unfading, words that can be readily applied to these pieces of Greek jewellery which date from the 4th and 3rd Centuries BC.
The solid gold Lion-head bracelets remind us that Lion emblems were a symbol of rank and status for both men and women. The Hellenistic gold, garnet and agate necklace and earrings would most likely have been a very clear sign of the wearer’s position and wealth although sometimes such pieces were used as an offering to the gods. The Herakles Knot that adorns the gold armlet was associated with marriage and may be the original source for the phrase ‘tying the knot’.
The gallery’s director Dr Glenn Lacki sums it up saying “These pieces intrigue the mind as well as they once adorned the body. Jewellery has deep-rooted connections to social ritual – connections that cut across time and cultures. The pieces we are bringing together for Amaranthine are heavy in gold, but carry also their own extraordinary histories that entice our imaginations.”