Conservators have discovered that three gold, garnet and enamel pieces from the Staffordshire Hoard which bore no immediately obvious relation to each other fit together to form a beautifully perplexing mystery object.
The millefiori stud, a gold mount with a collar of garnets and a glass enameled checkerboard surface, has a rectangular hole on the under side surrounded by four smaller round holes. A small gold cylinder decorated with cloisonné garnets has a rectangular protuberance of silver on one end and four round holes. The cylinder’s tab A fits into the millefiori’s slot B perfectly, and the four holes on both pieces align.
On the bottom end, the cylinder has another set of four matching holes with a torn piece of silver plate in the center. That torn plate in turn matches precisely the torn silver in the center of an elaborate gold cloisonné garnet circular object . The silver plate in the middle was riveted to the gold circle by four rivets, same as the holes on the other two pieces. Those four rivet holes show up on the other side of of the circular object, too, so our mystery object has at least one more part.
(Aesopian interlude: as historian David Starkey noted at the time, this is why it’s so important to keep archaeological discoveries intact in their proper context. If the hoard had been broken up and sold to the highest bidder, those pieces could have been scattered to the four corners of the earth.)
As for what it might have been used for, researchers have proposed several possibilities.