A diamond and amethyst pendant the reliquary cross centering a square-cut amethyst in a transitional and old European-cut diamond surround, the terminals set with circular-cut amethysts; with hinged cover; inscription on reverse dated 1911; estimated total diamond weight: 1.40 carats; mounted in eighteen karat gold; length: 4 1/8in.
pendant is similar to some found at the town of Birka, Sweden. During
the Viking Age, Birka on the island of Björkö (meaning “Birch Island”)
in present-day Sweden, was an important trading center which handled
goods from Scandinavia as well as Central and Eastern Europe and the
Orient. The archaeological sites of Birka and Hovgården, on the neighboring island of Adelsö, make up an archaeological complex which
illustrates the elaborate trading networks of Viking Scandinavia and
their influence on the subsequent history of Europe, and is generally
regarded as Sweden’s oldest town. A number of pendants and amulets were
found on the island, most of them associated with the pagan beliefs of
the inhabitants. Pendants depicting a male head have been interpreted as
being either a warrior, or, more likely, that of Odin, head of the
Norse pantheon of gods.