Gold Beads in the Shape of Cowrie Shells

Object Details


Gold Beads in the Shape of Cowrie Shells






Egypt (Place created)


225–175 B.C.



Object Number:



17 × 1.5 × 1.5 cm (6 11/16 × 9/16 × 9/16 in.)

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This string of twelve gold beads in the form of cowrie shells linked by gold loops was probably part of a necklace. The hollow beads were made from two joined pieces of sheet gold with the distinctive lips of the shell carved into the surface. Cowrie shells come from the Indian Ocean and would have been known in Hellenistic Egypt, where this necklace was made.

Related Works
- 1990

Robin Symes (London, England), sold to Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman, 1990.

1990 - 1992

Barbara Fleischman


and Lawrence Fleischman, American, 1925 - 1997 (New York, New York), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1992.

Pergamon and the Art of the Hellenistic Kingdoms (April 11 to July 17, 2016)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), April 11 to July 17, 2016

Pfrommer, Michael. "Hellenistisches Gold und ptolemaeische Herrscher." In Studia Varia from the J. Paul Getty Museum 2. Occasional Papers on Antiquities 10 (2001), pp. 79-114, fig. 13.

Pfrommer, Michael, with E. Towne Markus. Greek Gold from Hellenistic Egypt. Getty Museum Studies on Art (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001).

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection (Los Angeles: 2002), pp. 92-93.

Pfrommer, Michael. Könignnen Vom Nil (Mainz am Rhein: von Zabern, 2002), p. 108, abb. 93.

Lapatin, Kenneth. Luxus: The Sumptuous Arts of Greece and Rome (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2015), pp. 75, 232, pl. 40.

Picon, Carlos, and Sean Hemmingway, eds. Pergamon and the Hellenistic Kingdoms of the Ancient World (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2016), pp. 225-227, no. 159k, ill., entry by Mary Louise Hart.