Elisabeth Strack, and Ruslan I. Kostov
GEOCHEMISTRY, MINERALOGY AND PETROLOGY • SOFIA ГЕОХИМИЯ, МИНЕРАЛОГИЯ И ПЕТРОЛОГИЯ • СОФИЯ (2010), 48, 103-123
The Preslav gold treasure (adornments from gold decorated with enamel, beads of gem minerals and pearls: diadem, bilateral necklace, medallions, several earrings and earcaps, rings, buttons, appliqués and other small finds) was found in 1978 near the town of Veliki Preslav – the second Bulgarian capital during the еnd of the First Bulgarian Kingdom. The treasure (X century) belonged to a female member of the royal family and is suggested to be of a Byzantine origin. A morphometric study and gem testing was made on all the gemmological materials – minerals and numerous pearls. Among the gem minerals are identified 40 emeralds, 12 violet sapphires, 10 reddish violet garnets, 5 rock crystals, 3 amethysts and 1 carnelian. Their inclusions and type of cut are listed. The average dimensions for the emerald polished and rounded on the edges prisms from two medallions are: length 0.48 cm and width 0.59 cm. The average dimensions for the mainly barrel shaped sea pearls from a gold medallion are length 0.40 cm and diameter 0.45 cm. The origin of the emeralds is under discussion, and they are compared with other emerald finds in Europe, including from Bulgaria, from the Antiquity and Early Medieval Period. As a probable source for the gem minerals (emerald, sapphire, garnet), according to their inclusions, is suggested an Eastern (India and Sri Lanka) origin (alternative for the emeralds – the Hindou-Kush area), and the pearls are probably from the Indian Ocean of the Persian Gulf.