Blue Glass Stud

An object from Portmahomack it is a composite blue glass stud inlaid with silver wire and red enamel and was made in the Pictish monastic smiths’ hall of the Pictish monastery at Portmahomack.

The size of this blue glass stud belies its importance to Pictish archaeology; it is only about the size of a 5-pence piece, but was crafted by a craftsman working in the smiths’ hall of the Pictish monastery at Portmahomack, Tarbatness in the 8th century. The stud is so like those on the famous treasure, the Derrynaflan paten, that it has been suggested that the same craftsman was at work at Portmahomack. The stud is made of dark blue glass and was inlaid with fine, geometric silver wire, creating cells that were in turn inlaid with red glass or enamel, now decayed to a yellow colour. The stud was broken and this may explain why it was disposed of in a heap of smith’s waste. It was intended to be set into a metal collar fastened to a large complex object,  perhaps a chalice, paten or reliquary. The smith who made it was engaged in making some of Europe’s finest metalwork masterpieces, so fine and intricate they are often likened to the ‘work of angels’. This object, and many others from the Pictish monastery at Portmahomack, are on display at the award-winning Tarbat Discovery Centre, Portmahomack and part of the Highland Pictish Trail.

Location: Tarbat Discovery Centre, Tarbatness Road, Portmahomack, Tain, IV20 1YA

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