‘Opus interrasile’ was a technique used by goldsmiths to make elegant jewellery from the third through to the tenth century AD. Designs were traced onto sheets of gold and the background was punched with holes of various sizes to highlight the pattern, with fine details then worked on the surface. The patterns formed by piercing the metal encouraged the play of light and shadow across the object’s surface. This technique was very popular during the Roman empire, and was used by the majority of jewellers in the Byzantine empire.
To find out more about the Byzantine world please see our relevant blog post: The Byzantine Empire: Art and Christianity.