Penannular brooch from Ballymoney

Contributed by Ballymoney Museum

Penannular brooch from Ballymoney

This striking silver brooch once fastened the cloak of a wealthy person 1100 years ago. Known as a penannular brooch, it has a loop of metal with flattened ends, or terminals with an attached movable pin. The pin was pushed through the folds of the cloak and then one end of the ring was pushed under the sharp end of the pin. The ring was then turned so that the pin lay securely in place. The term 'penannular' is used for brooches like this, which have a gap in their hoop. Other types do not have a gap, but were used in much the same way. There are many variations in style and design and they could often be elaborately decorated, featuring Celtic knotwork, circular patterns and animals. Brooches had an important function as status symbols that demonstrated the wealth and rank of the wearer and were regarded as highly valued items.

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