We are very grateful for the approval to publish this find and congratulate the treasure finder on this awesome discovery! The site has not been photographed due to respect for the dead, as it was in an ancient cemetery. Instead, the treasure hunter added scan images (from the detection software Visualizer 3D) and photos of the impressive piece of jewelry.
We can't tell this success story better than the treasure hunter himself, of course. That is why we let the discoverer report his experience in his own words ...
Hobby Treasure Hunter Unearths Jewelry
"I've been treasure hunting as a hobby for over a year now, and this is my first find that I'm very excited about.
I knew that this location is an ancient (pre-Islamic) cemetery because the graves were not in a long shape and none of them were facing Qibla (Mecca) like Islamic graves. As the ancient peoples are known for their beautiful artifacts and treasures they left behind, I started scanning the site."
"After noticing something showing up positive on the scan, I decided to scan the area again with closer vertical scan lines. It confirmed there was a metal object under that spot.
After two nights of digging I reached the depth of 150 cm (4.9 ft), the clay changed its color to some sort of sand and underneath appeared a stone material which was completely different than other rocks in color and shape in that area.
After cleaning and digging around the stone it revealed to be a white rectangular about 160 cm (5.3 ft) long cover of a stone sarcophagus. I lifted the heavy cover ..."
What is hidden in the sarcophagus?
"I saw the fragments of bones of a person, some sort of black sand, it was somewhat oily, and I noticed a bad odor.
When I dug further, a few clay pots appeared, all of them were full of the same sandy material which withered as soon as I would touch them. One of the pots was upside down hidden behind a rock."
Uncovering the Artifact
"After removing the rock and searching inside the pot, lots of materials were inside, but I couldn't identify them and they withered into sand. However, I noticed a denser small object, looked at it more closely and I rubbed the sand off: It was this beautiful golden artifact!"
Taking a Closer Look at the Find
After carefully cleaning the find, it reveals many peculiarities: The piece is apparently a multi-part hand jewelry. It consists of several ring elements which are connected with a chain. Large red stones are set into both jewelry elements. Whether these are semi-precious or precious stones like ruby or tourmaline can only be determined by an expert on site.
Arts and Crafts in Pre-Islamic Iran
Old Persian Empire (Achaimenid Empire, 6th to 4th century BC)
New Persian Empire (Sassanid Empire, 3rd to 7th century AD)
Also in pre-Islamic Iran jewels and precious stones set in precious metal jewelry were a sign of social status. Luxury made of gold, silver and copper as well as pearls and precious stones adorned not only wrists and fingers, but also hair styles, clothing, and vessels. The use of gold reached its peak in Iran in the Sassanid Empire.
With the beginning of the Islamic Era, artisans followed the new imperatives to the use of precious metals. Moreover, patterns in Islamic arts and crafts were soon dominated by ornaments and geometric shapes. These new designs are found in handicrafts that used other materials: pottery, embroidery and carpet weaving.
Gemstones in Iran
Gemstones are said to have been used by people for thousands of years. In the past, the possession of precious stones was considered a symbol of wealth. Emperors and monarchs had their jewelry made of precious metals such as gold and silver decorated with precious gemstones, but also with shells, pearls, coral and amber.
Typical precious and semi-precious stones that are commonly found in Iran are emeralds, agates, turquoise, jade and amethyst. The minerals are used in necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings, often with a setting of gold or silver.
Ruby or Tourmaline?
Whether the decorative stones are real gemstones like ruby or tourmaline, can only be determined by an expert. At this point, we provide a brief insight into how to distinguish between the two red gemstones:
Tourmalines come in many colors: the red variety is called rubellite. Rubies, in contrast, are made of crystalline aluminum oxide and are classified in a different mineral class.
Both ruby and rubellite show a birefringence. Rubellite, however, shows this phenomenon much more clearly: it has a primary and a secondary color, which can be recognized by looking at it from different angles. Its primary colors are pure reds, its secondary color an intense purple to pink. By looking more closely at ruby and rubellite under different lighting conditions, you can see a very special pink sparkle in rubellites.