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Anglo Saxon Crystal Ball | by spratmackrel
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Anglo Saxon Crystal Ball

Modern imitation (glass) of the quartz crystal ball based on finds from high status female Anglo Saxon (and Norse) graves dated from the 7th century onwards, this particular example is based on the find from Kingston, Kent.


Some 35 examples of crystal balls are known from early Anglo-Saxon graves, of which only eight are found in cemeteries outside Kent.


The origin of the crystal used is unknown, but, unlike crystal beads, the size of

crystal required to fashion a ball greatly restricts the number of possible sources. It

can be said with some certainty that there could be no English source; possible areas

of origin include Scotland, Germany and Switzerland.


The crystals themselves are usually flawed and vary in colour from dark smoky crystals to bright clear examples. They are normally mounted in gold, silver, or copper-alloy bands which are wrapped around the crystal and secured at the top by a cylindrical collar and pin with a suspension ring.


Crystal balls are not restricted to Anglo-Saxon contexts, with perhaps the best-known continental example being the unmounted crystal ball found in Childeric's tomb, and there are at least 50 crystal balls known from Germany, France, Italy, Hungary, Belgium, Holland and Austria.


Many crystal balls were poor copies of more accomplished pieces, a bit like fake Fendi handbags today.


It is thought that the balls were either hung from the belt or suspended around the neck.


replica made by Daegrad of Sheffield, England.


More detailed historical information can be found here:


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Taken on February 8, 2009