Gold Baule Face Pendant #1


Stunningly gorgeous face pendant made of gold.  This rare pendant is made in the "Lost Wax" technique of the Baule peoples of the Ivory Coast, in West Africa.  

Baule castings are some of the most beautiful in world and this one is particularly special because of its gold content, which gives the face a particularly lovely bright shine.  The face has an elaborate traditional woven woman's hairdo, with several ritual scars on the cheek that were traditionally thought to enhance beauty.  

One of the best things about this type of art is that you can see the evidence that this is hand-made.  On this particular pendant, you can see where the pendant was detached from the tubes that carried the molten metal through the clay mold.  The molding mark is just below the lip and includes several small holes in the metal.  While the mold mark is visible from the front, in no way detracts from the beauty of this piece.  

Also note that there is a slight crack visible upon close inspection from the forehead down to the nose.  The crack was skillfully repaired and is most visible from the back.  There's even two small pinholes that allow a little light through where the repair didn't completely take.  We see no evidence that the cracks are structural, but it's always prudent to be careful with a piece like this.       

This pendant weighs 38.5 grams.  Our estimate is that the gold is somewhere between 8k - 12k.  So for pure scrap value (heaven forfend!), the gold is worth about $15 per gram (based on a gold value of about $40/gram).  Assuming a gold content of 10k, that's about $600 worth of gold.  

The pendant measures 58 mm high (not including the bale) by 49 mm wide (at her widest point).  The pendant also has a nice three-dimensional quality, measuring approximate 20 mm in depth.  

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