Myrrh-bearing women (Mary and Martha of Bethany, Mary of Magdalene). Cloisonné enamel.
In Orthodox Christian tradition, myrrh bearers traditionally refers to the women with myrrh who came to the tomb of Christ early in the morning of the third day after his death only to find the tomb empty. This piece may have been made to be worn during the Week of the Myrrhbearers, after Easter.
Cloisonné is an ancient technique for decorating metalwork objects with inlays of cut gemstones, glass, and other materials. The decoration is formed by first dividing the design into compartments (cloisons in French) with silver or gold wires or thin strips placed on their edges. Then these compartments are filled with colored glass powders and fired to melt the glass. The wires remain visible in the finished piece, separating the different compartments of the enamel or inlays, which are often of several colors.