Height: 14.200 cm
Width: 6.400 cm
Weight: 526.000 g
GR 1841.3-1.5 (Jewellery 2256)
Room 71: Etruscan world
Gold ear decoration
Etruscan, about 400-300 BC
An elaborate example of the Etruscan goldsmiths' art
The goldsmiths of Etruria became very accomplished from the seventh century BC. They produced rich objects in striking forms that were technically very difficult to make. Greek styles were influential, but local taste is very much in evidence. This truly monumental gold earring is a typically Etruscan piece of jewellery.
The ear decoration is shaped from thin sheet gold, with attached rosettes and clusters of gold globules. It is further decorated with filigree - attached gold wire - and granulation. The technique of granulation was brought to an extraordinary standard of perfection in the Etruscan world, and was often much finer than exhibited by this ear decoration.
The ear decoration is very large. How would it have been worn? Certain terracotta heads show that they acted almost as ear covers, nestling behind the curls of the wearer and tucked into the side of the neck.
E. Macnamara, The Etruscans-1 (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)
R. Higgins, Greek and Roman jewellery (London, Methuen, 1980)