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Bulgari "Monete" Ancient Coin Curb Link Longchain Necklace

$125,000

Crafted in Rome by Bulgari, c. 1970s-1990s, this 18K gold necklace is set with Ancient Roman silver coins. The eight bezel-set coins depicting the Emperor  Antoniano Treboniano Gallo are joined by heavy curb link chain. Long and glamorous, this wonderful vintage necklace combines history and modern chic in one stunning statement jewel.

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  • Product Details
  • Curator's Notes

Item #: N-20300
Artist: Bulgari, Rome
Country: Italy        
Circa: 1970s-1990s
Size: 34" length x 1” width
Materials: 8 ancient Roman silver coins; 18K gold
Signed: BVLGARI  750, Antoniano Treboniano Gallo,  251-253 AD.
Literature: The significance of Bulgari’s coin jewelry is discussed  in Bulgari, by Daniela Mascetti and Amanda Triossi, Abbeyville Press, 1996, page 111-135.

Bulgari’s celebrated Gemme Nummarie mount these precious “fragments of antiquity”, treated as gemstones, in sleek modern settings. With these jewels, Bulgari follows in the Roman and Byzantine tradition, where coin jewelry represented portable portrait galleries featuring emblems of power, as well as Renaissance customs, when series of coins were collected as scholars revived the lost learning, art and technology of the ancients. Inspired by these traditions, in the 1960s, Nicola Bulgari began creating jewels such as this one, described by Triossi as “long chains of filed curb linking with various coins.” This wonderful collection of jewels represents the Bulgari family origins in the artistic traditions of both Greek and Roman cultures. Bulgari’s coin specialists comb the international markets to find intriguing specimens and sets, and the coins are set with great care to ensure that their numismatic value is not compromised. Bulgari coin jewelry mounts are inscribed with the coin’s specimen name and date.

Gallus, the emperor under whom these coins were minted, represents was a member of a diverse line of rulers during an extremely exciting and unsettled period in 3rd century Roman history, which lasted from approximately 235 A.D. until Diocletian’s ascension and consolidation of power in 284 A.D. We know that life in the Empire during this mysterious and poorly documented fifty year period was continually interrupted by plagues, barbarian invasions, civil wars, and economic disruptions, presided over by a quick succession of military emperors and usurpers. Coins from the period - which still appear unexpectedly in hoards rediscovered in such diverse places as French vineyards, fields in the Oxfordshire countryside, and forgotten library collections - offer important numismatic evidence to supplement the weak historical record. Period historians, by contrast, offered few reliable facts and no impartial interpretation of events. Judging by the number of emperors that ruled in this period, we can well imagine that the political upheaval and its social fall out would have resembled Game of Thrones on fast forward.

In the coins of this necklace, Gallus’s radiated and spiked crown and close-cropped hair are a distinct mark of the period’s warrior emperors. A military man born in Perugia to a respected Etruscan senatorial family, Gallus was elevated by his soldiers to emperor for a brief and eventful reign. Attempting to avoid another civil war, he handled challenges throughout the Empire, including attacks by the Persians and Scythians, a major outbreak of the plague, and social chaos resulting from the spread of Christianity. He would have paid his soldiers in these coins - the soldiers who both elevated and destroyed him. The Metropolitan Museum of Art holds a bronze monumental statue of Gallus dating from the time of his reign as Roman Emperor. (251-253 A.D.) It is the only surviving near-complete full-size 3rd-century Roman bronze in existence.
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