A remarkable iron age gold bracelet made in Europe over 3,000 years ago is to go under the hammer at Christie's London on May 2.
The heavy gold cuff, discovered in Portugal in the mid 20th century, is expected to bring £40,000-60,0000 ($60,920-91,379), such is its age and rarity.
The centuries old bracelet, created at the dawn of the European iron age, has never been offered at auction before and is the only one of its type still in private hands.
Laetitia Delaloye, an antiquities specialist at Christie's, comments: "Many important lots in this sale have been part of private collections for generations and so have never been seen before on the market.
"The gold bracelet from the iron age is a special piece and it is extremely rare for us to see such a detailed example of early iron age craftsmanship on the market."
The bracelet is made from more than half a kilo of high-purity gold, demonstrating the technological advancements underway at the iron age's onset.
The iron age, in archaeological terms, is characterised by the widespread use of iron and steel. Furnaces capable of achieving very high temperatures coupled with new tools made out of the malleable metals allowed craftsmen to become increasingly bold and ambitious with their designs.
The attractive, museum-grade piece ought to appeal to collectors of antiquities and historical jewellery alike.
It is very likely that the bracelet once belonged to a member of the elite, yet it demonstrates that the desire to be bedecked in gold - whether as a show of wealth and status or merely as pretty decoration - dates as far back as our abilities to mould and shape precious metals.
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