UPDATED – Pair of cloisonne appliques

These were found in Saint Denis, first decade 6th century. The garnet cloisonne was starting to disappear by this time. I don’t know the context of these appliques or which grave they came from. My book on the Saint Denis finds has gone walk about. Please post in the comments if you know. I guesstimate that these were belt fittings, but could be wrong. The center square appears to be turquoise ENAMEL OR GLASS.

Pair of 6th century appliques, Saint Denis





  1. Reply
    Catherine Raymond June 15, 2012

    I couldn’t find a clear explanation of what the central material is, but I chased a link from a Pinterest board and found a really good, large, color photograph of them here:


    You need to scroll halfway down the page to find them. The caption, in French, indicates that they are made in enamel, garnet, gold and “orfèvrerie”, a word I don’t know and that Google Translate didn’t translate well. However, the center square does not appear to be turquoise–it’s too translucent for turquoise. I’d guess it’s glass.

    Good luck tracking down further information!

    • Reply
      thealater June 15, 2012

      Thanks! Gotta love Pinterest. 😀

  2. Reply
    google June 16, 2012

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  3. Reply
    Osric the Odd August 5, 2012

    Les Trésors Mérovingiens de la Basilique de Saint-Denis (p.97) lists these as being from Sarcophage #38.

    A translation of the inlay says “In the center is a square of malachite recess on each of its dimensions by a semicircle of green glass…”

    And while the text refers to these as “fibules”, their find location is telling: “one was found at the lumbar vertebrae, 5 cm on the right and one at waist level, slightly to the left.”

    • Reply
      thealater August 5, 2012

      So this would likely make them belt plaques?

      • Reply
        Osric the Odd August 6, 2012

        They seem to have been in the right area, although they are rather fancy for the simple belt buckle associated with them…

        Still, they are curved in such a way as to suggest they decorated a curved form, like a waist perhaps. Quite unlike the typically flat brooches one might compare them to. Also, they have mounting holes in the corners presumably for mounting to some surface, again unlike brooches.

        Belt plaques seem a safe bet 🙂

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