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Archaeology/help indentifying metal pendant



Hi, I've been searching online, trying to learn about a find from 20+ years ago in uptown New Orleans, LA.

The object is a primitive looking pendant, and searching online, looked to be Indian, yet I was unable to find an exact match(most similar looking items are made of stone).

Just a quick description of the pendant:
 -rectangular shape, approx. 1.5" wide x 2" tall x 0.25" thick
 -crude, simple etches on top/sides
 -approx. 92% iridium, 7.5% gold, 68.1 total pennyweight=3.41       troy oz.

The highlighted areas in red indicated where the pendant was abraded for the metal assessment.

I'm wondering if you could hazard a guess as to what this object is, its use, who created it, or when?  Any advice on how to proceed would be greatly appreciated.  

Thank you,

Hi Larissa,

This is a modern item.  At 92% iridium it was an intentionally refined item which could only be have been made in the last 50 or so years.  Iridium was isolated chemically only about 100 years ago.  An alloy with gold is also unusual in that this would be used for electronics and very sophisticated electronics at that.  Small "billets" of this type are intentionally made for sale and are commonly used in cell phones, flat screen TVs and other electronics.

The gold in the alloy helps with conductivity in the metal.

Iridium in a highly refined state is a dull gray metallic looking substance and it is generally kept in a liquid storage or nobel gas storage as it can oxidize easily.  Yours appears to have been oxidized due to exposure.  

I'm not sure what iridium goes for these days but you may want to find out what it is worth on the open market.

The scratches and notches etc... are also from exposure.  


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Ralph Salier


Archaeologist for the last 30 years. Norh American generalist and Hopwell culture/Red Ocher culture specifically. Lithics Expert and Ground Stone tools.


Past/Present clients
Numerous museums in US and Canada. Several University Anthropology Departments.

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