Later Archaic Greek gems: introduction

During the first half of the 6th century BC Greek gem engravers learned again how to cut the harder stones (quartzes, mainly cornelian). This seems to have happened through observation of practice in Cyprus, where Phoenicians were established and active, and in a good position to teach. Moreover, the favourite Phoenician gem shape, the scarab, was adopted, or sometimes the plainer version, the scaraboid. The scarab beetles often have raised spines ('carinated') a feature uncommon elsewhere in time or place. The principal archaic shapes are shown in these drawings; they derive from Egyptian via Phoenician but still retain many features of a real scarab beetle.

Abbreviations in this section:

AGGems - Boardman, J., Archaic Greek Gems (London, 1968)