"These crystal balls were found in ladies graves in Kent and lay between the thighs. They were most likely suspended at the front of the clothing. Crystal balls have been found on the Continent too, but where found in Kent they seem to be mainly found in unusually rich graves and accompanied by silver spoons, perforated in the bowl. The crystal itself is made from quartz and there are many theories as to their uses.
This particular piece was found at Bifrons Cemetery, Patrixbourne, Kent, in grave number 42. Bifrons Cemetery dates to around AD 475-575 and was excavated by TB Godfrey-Fausset in 1867. Around 100 graves were discovered and further graves appear to have been opened but not recorded.
Accession Number: KAS 314
Today is about exploring quartz crystal balls, am I seeing them as 'scrying' devices, a crystal ball gazing into the future a bit like Rose Lee the gypsy who plies her trade on Whitby pier, no not quite. But they have been there in past history. As curative amulets in Roman times, Pliny said that they were used more for their ice like properties, used for cooling hands and also for cauterizing. LS has just mentioned a 1200 year old painting which has a Japanese lady of the court holding one for a similar purpose.
They came with the Anglo-Saxon people to Kent, and belonged to the rich and noble families, hanging from the chatelaine round the female waist, excavated, they lie between the legs of the skeleton. They are a Frankish importation and are often found next to a spoon which would seem to be used as sieve. Either for the wine that in the halls would be poured out by the women for the menfolk, the holes stopping any herbs, etc getting through or for divination maybe such as water poured over the crystal ball, both of course are just conjectures.
|Anglo-Saxon sieving spoon|
As England went through the Conversion period from paganism to Christianity, the crystal became part of the narrative of the Church, so that we find Alfred's Jewel also made of crystal set in gold. By this stage crystal became a symbol of the Virgin Mary and of the Immaculate Conception (because it can act as a catalyst to light passing through).
It was also a symbol of rainbows, the rainbow that shines after the storm such as that experienced in the Great Flood and Noah in the bible and god's promise after the flood.. The rational explanation of this way of seeing the properties of these stones, is of course the 'pictures' we see in stones, two examples of stones here....
|This is a clear polished crystal of LS, you can almost see a water world.|
|This is my moonstone, which has a very Chinese landscape image in its depths, the photo is not too good though.|