Explore highlights
Gold ear-stud


Diameter: 6.800 cm
Weight: 318.000 g

GR 1881.5-28.2 (Jewellery 1419)

Room 71: Etruscan world

    Gold ear-stud

    Etruscan, 530-480 BC
    From Etruria (Lazio, Italy)

    Magnificent golden ear-stud

    This large gold ear-stud was made during the Etruscan Archaic period, when most jewellery was more restrained than in the previous century. Stunning items like this were obviously made to catch the eye. It was a fashion that perhaps originated in Lycia, Turkey and spread to Greece and Italy.

    The patterns are made with fine gold wire (filigree) and minute gold granules (granulation). Sometimes the granulation on Etruscan jewellery is so fine that it resembles gold powder, and working with it must have required consummate skill. The coils of wire and tiny gold petals must have shimmered and gleamed as the wearer moved her head. Sometimes the ear-studs were set with contrasting dark blue glass paste, as here. Most of these ear-studs have a short tube attached at a right angle to the back of the disc, in the centre, but it is uncertain exactly how they were fixed to the ear.

    M. Cristofani and M. Martelli, LOro degli Etruschi (Novara, Istituto geografico De Agostini, 1983)

    E. Macnamara, The Etruscans-1 (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)


    Browse or search over 4,000 highlights from the Museum collection

    On display: Room 71: Etruscan world

    Shop Online

    Imaginative Gladiator activity kit for children , £9.99

    Imaginative Gladiator activity kit for children , £9.99