Tanit

Tanit Collection

A rich tapestry of past centuries is woven into these captivating, one-of-a-kind creations. We search the world over for ancient coins imbued with the beauty and strength of women. As precious as rare gemstones, these coins are then set with a modern aesthetic designed to appeal to the woman of today. Each piece is a unique, wearable work of art, handmade by master goldsmiths who exalt—never alter—every coin selected for the Tanit Collection. Elegant modern design resonates with the power and history of women who will live on with you.

Tanit Ring 20mm bronze coin

The Tanit ring features a 20 mm bronze coin from the Carthaginian Empire minted in Sardinia, circa 300-264 BC. It is set in 18 karat rose gold, set with 28 black diamonds.

The goddess Tanit, depicted here wearing a wreath of barley and leaves, a necklace with pendants and an earring with three pendants, was a Punic goddess and became the chief deity of of ancient Carthage located in modern-day Tunisia (see Story). She was worshipped across the entire Punic Empire, so her likeness can be found throughout the western Mediterranean, including Sicily, Malta, Ibiza, Sardinia, Granada, and Cadiz. She was the goddess of war, the mother goddess, and the goddess of fertility.

Her portrait shows her as a strong-willed, fierce young woman. The design is influenced by the Arethusa-coin from Syracuse (see Story). The coin is in an extremely fine condition (xf), her features and even jewellery can be seen in great detail and the coin has a beautiful, brown patina.

“Each coin is unique, but all have one element in common: a woman’s touch. I am focused on incorporating coins that represent a female figure of power to enhance the femininity of these creations and showcase the role of women in history. Antique coins representing female figures are much rarer than coins depicting male rulers or gods. Therefore, the quest for the perfect coin can take time and patience is key, but I think this aspect of the collection is truly Sassi.” 

Renilde Vervoort

Tanit Isis Cleopatra pendant 28mm bronze coin

The Isis – Cleopatra pendant features a 28 mm bronze coin minted in Alexandria circa 186-175 BC. It is set in 18 karat rose gold with 62 black diamonds and hangs from a  black rhodium-plated silver chain with a gold Sassi lock.

Cleopatra I is represented here as the goddess Isis, wearing a wreath of corn or barley and corkscrew locks. She was the first Ptolemaic queen to rule without her husband, who died unexpectedly in 180 BC. Their son, Ptolemy VI was crowned king, at just six years old, so Cleopatra became regent. Coins were minted under their joint authority.

The powerful goddess Isis presided over motherhood, the afterlife, and life cycles. Cleopatra associated herself with Isis, dressing as the goddess for ceremonial events and looking to religious prophecy to justify her actions to maintain her position of power. This coin is a wonderful testimony to how Cleopatra used Isis idolatry to strengthen her image as ruler, the condition of the coin is very fine (vf)

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Besides telling the story of ancient civilisations, coins inspire and link to a wearer’s own story. Tanit Collection creations are timeless and connect the past to the present.

The Histiaia earrings showcase two silver coins from the ancient city of Histiaia on the Greek island of Euboia, minted in the third century BC. They are set in frosted gold and backed with ear-clips that have foldable posts.

These coins depict the nymph Histiaia, named after the city. On the front side, she is looking to the right wearing a sphendone head scarf and a vine wreath, as well as earrings and a necklace. On the reverse side, she is seated on the stern of a galley, the wind billowing its sails.

In Greek mythology, nymphs were personifications of the creative and fostering activities of nature, and were pictured as beautiful maidens. They were connected with and named after certain locales, such as the nymph Histiaia, who was said to inhabit a spring in the city of Histiaia.

We managed to obtain two coins minted at the same time, however, one was struck off-centre (vf). To restore the face of Histiaia to her full beauty, we used the millennia-old technique of lost wax to create the missing part of her profile. We made a wax-imprint from the other exceptional finely (xf) minted coin and poured new silver, which we then carefully nestled against the original, unaltered coin. The difference between the freshly poured silver compared to the silver of the ancient coin is visible, intentionally showing the restoration. This sensitive restoration honours the past, while bringing new dimension to these truly unique earrings.

These coins offer a unique window to the past, spanning many centuries and cultures. Each coin is carefully selected for its beauty and rarity and then set into an elegant, modern piece of jewellery designed to enhance its beauty, patina, and symbolism.

The Demeter ring features a 20 mm silver coin from the city state of Metapontion in Magna Graecia, minted circa 400-350 BC. It is set in 18 karat frosted yellow gold with 35 grey sapphires.

The front side shows the goddess Demeter wearing a sphendone, a head scarf that was in fashion from about 500–330 BC. It was worn low to cover the hair, tied in a bun, and leave the crown of the head exposed. She is also adorned with a necklace and an earring with a long pendant. The reverse side of the coin depicts an ear of barley, the pride and prosperity of the city state.
 
Demeter, the Greek goddess of the harvest and agriculture, presided over crops, grains, food, and the fertility of the earth. Metopontion, a Greek colony in Southern Italy, rose rapidly to enjoy considerable prosperity thanks to the fertility of its land. The choice of Demeter on this coin is, therefore, evident. The coins of Metapontion are reputed for their beautiful workmanship, and this rare, very fine coin is no exception.

The history and integrity of each coin is very important to us. No modifications are made and the structure of every coin remains unaltered. Setting a coin in a piece of jewellery requires special care to preserve its numismatic value. Sassi’s expert artisans mount every coin between two bezels—often following irregular contours—and implement ingenious designs so that the reverse of the coin is also exposed.

The Athena bracelet features a 23 mm silver coin from Athens, minted circa 449-413 BC. It is set in 18 karat yellow gold with 26 grey sapphires. The bracelet can be worn showing either side of this spectacular coin.

On the obverse side, Athena, the patron and protectress goddess of the powerful state Athens, is wearing a crested helmet ornamented with three olive leaves and a floral scroll. The reverse side depicts the owl of Athena, the iconographic symbol of the Athenian polis and wisdom, with an olive sprig and crescent moon.

Athena was associated with wisdom (philosophy), warfare, and craftsmanship—particularly, metalwork. She was believed to aid in the forging of armour and weapons. Athena represented the disciplined, strategic side of war, only supporting those fighting for a just cause.

This type of coin was in wide circulation from about 510–38 BC. It facilitated trade throughout the ancient Greek world, including in cities politically unfriendly to Athens, because of its consistent value. Athens had their own silver mines. The coin was not only adopted by many other city states of ancient Greece, but also in Asia Minor, Magna Graecia, and other Greek colonial cities throughout the Mediterranean Sea. It spread to other areas of Asia with the armies of Alexander the Great, thus making it the first international currency. This type of coin is also thought to be the kind handed over to Judas when he betrayed Christ.

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"I do love my bracelet and have been wearing it daily, a gentle reminder of the virtues Athena represents."

As rare as precious stones, ancient coins are only sourced from reputable numismatic dealers and auction houses. Each piece in the Tanit Collection comes with a certificate of authenticity and is engraved with the name of the goddess, nymph or ruler represented and the date and location of the coin’s minting.

The Tanit pendant features a 19.8 mm bronze coin from the Carthaginian Empire minted in Sardinia, circa 300-264 BC It is set in 18 karat rose gold with 36 black diamonds and hangs from a grey rhodium-plated silver chain with gold Sassi lock.

The Punic goddess Tanit is depicted here wearing a barley leaf wreath, a necklace with drop pendants, and an earring with three long pendants. The reverse of the coin profiles the bust of horse and a star. Although this coin was minted around the same time and location as the coin in the Tanit ring, the goddess shown here seems to be a softer, kinder young woman.

Tanit was a Punic goddess who became the chief deity of Carthage, a Phoenician colony that developed into the Punic Empire. It dominated the southwestern part of the Mediterranean during the first millennium BC. The legendary Queen Alyssa, originally from Tyre in current-day Lebanon, is regarded as the founder of the city. Tyre was famous for the production of Tyrian purple, the most expensive natural dye (see The Secret of Berenice Story). The knowledge of making Tyrian purple traveled with the first settlers and the dye was traded and accounted for the wealth of the empire. By the eighth century, fabric dying operations were well established and required coins to facilitate trade

 

“Each jewel is truly one-of-a-kind and this to me is the real essence of preciousness.”

Renilde Vervoort

Tanit Nikè ring 01

The Nikè ring features a Roman carnelian intaglio (10 x 11 x 2 mm) dating from the first or second century AD. It is set in an 18 karat rose gold ring with an imprint of the portrait as it would appear in a wax seal.

The intaglio’s depiction of Nikè is inspired by Hellenistic models, showing her in profile with gathered hair and small wings on her shoulders. It is a delicate, beautiful representation of the goddess of victory.

Long before people signed documents, intaglios were used as personal seals. They are images carved into incised glass or gemstones and often set in signet rings. Pressed into hot wax, an intaglio would imprint its owner’s mark. They were highly desirable treasures to own and wear, with symbols carefully chosen to reflect personal meaning. While businessmen and political leaders with enormous power and wealth used intaglios to sign important documents, we think this piece belonged to a woman with particular verve and panache. Female representations are extremely rare, and it took us years to find this carnelian—a gemstone (another requirement)—and acquire it.

To make an intaglio, an artisan carves a design backwards into a hard material so that the ‘correct’ image appears when it is pressed into a soft material, like wax. This is exactly what we did here, but instead of wax, we used lustrous gold. The two goddesses now look at each other, both embellished with a. small cord design that is also reminiscent of ancient Roman jewellery.

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The key difference between old and new is, quite simply, that antique pieces possess a soul. Once chosen we study, research and sample materials to achieve a desired texture or colour to match the coin.

We imagine a setting that will enhance the colour, patina, shape and symbolism, so as to create a piece of jewellery that, although sensitive to historical narrative and context, in its style is unmistakably modern.

Tanit Himera cuff 01

The Himera cuff features a 15 mm extremely fine (xf) bronze coin from the city of Himera in Sicily, minted around 420-408 BC, with an attractive brown patina. It is set in rose gold set in 18 karat rose gold opposite a lush pavé setting of 40 grey sapphires and black rhodium. This cuff is flexible and comfortable and the coin’s style and condition with an attractive dark patina, are considered extremely fine.

The beautiful nimph Himera, represented here,  is wearing a sphendone, a pendant earring and a double necklace. The six pellets shown on the obverse and reverse sides of the coin indicate its value. The reverse also depicts a laurel wreath symbolising victory.

The nymph Himera was associated with Himera, a large and important ancient Greek city situated on the north coast of Sicily at the mouth of the river with the same name.  Nymphs who inhabited rivers, streams, lakes, marshes, fountains and springs of the earth were called Naiads. They were considered immortal, minor divinities who were invited to attend the assemblies of the gods on Mount Olympus, In Greek mythology, nymphs were considered personifications of creativity and nature, and were depicted as beautiful maidens.

These artefacts span thousands of years. We become their custodians, their curators, not to possess but to preserve and pass on to the next generations.

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