Anglo Saxon Crystal Ball

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    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:

    JD Hancock, eagoodlife, Mc-XcI, and 3 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. slowcat 66 months ago | reply

      Beautiful object and all new to me...Thanks for your detailed notes!!

    2. Thorskegga 66 months ago | reply


      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Symbols & Amulets of Heathenry / Asatru, and we'd love to have this added to the group!


    3. scenicplot 66 months ago | reply

      The colours in the ball are exquisite and as always thanks for the information Paul.

    4. catarina.berg, returning after pneumonia 66 months ago | reply

      Underbart vacker. Spännande informationer!

    5. Beth Wales 66 months ago | reply

      beautiful ! maybe they were hung in the window when the owner was home, to reflect light and colour like a prism.

    6. Thorskegga 58 months ago | reply

      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Photography in Heathenry / Asatru / Northern Tradition, and we'd love to have this added to the group!


    7. lunasea1 30 months ago | reply

      Hi Paul. I used 2 of your photos for a blog post about a riddle poem from the Exeter Book. I'll put this message below both photos. Let me know if you want me to change anything. Thanks.

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