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Currency as Jewellery – Romania

Dacian BraceletThis bracelet is an artefact of the Dacians, an ancient Indo-European civilization which ruled the lands now occupied by modern Romania. It is associated with the last king of the Dacians, Decebalus, and was made sometime in the late 2nd Century AD, shortly before the Roman conquest of Dacia by the Roman Emperor Trajan. Despite their highly ornamental style, such bracelets were used as currency, as insignia denoting high rank, and votive offerings. They are adorned with many elaborate decorations, which give them regional distinction.

While the Dacians wore a wide variety of bracelets, this large multi-spiral design is the most characteristic piece of their jewellery. It is engraved with palmettes – a decorative motif in the shape of palm tree fronds – and each end is fashioned into the shape of an animal head, usually that of a snake.

Since these artefacts are made from pure gold, it can be surmised that the greater the number of spirals to a bracelet the more powerful its original owner. This bracelet was discovered during excavations of the Royal Palace at Sarmizegetusa Regia, the ancient capital of Dacia.