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A very delicate and attractive technique developed by Anglo-Saxon glass and metal-workers, whereby panels of multicoloured glass were set into a background of metal or enamel. To create the distinctive minute chequerboard or rosette-like patterns, bundles of glass rods of varying cross-section were tied together and heated until pliable; these were then drawn out to great lengths. The resulting thin cord of glass was allowed to cool and was cut into thin slices which were later set into the object to be decorated. Some of the finest examples of the millefiori technique can be seen adorning the Sutton Hoo discoveries — the brilliant reds and blues on the purse lid and shoulder clasps are outstandingly colourful and effective.

The Macmillan dictionary of archaeology, Ruth D. Whitehouse, 1983Copied