Height: 7.000 cm (each)
Length: 43.230 cm (chain)
Weight: 722.000 g (total)
Tyszkiewicz and Guilhou Collections
GR 1906.4-11.1 (Jewellery 2331)
Room 22: Alexander the Great
Pair of disc and amphora earrings linked by a long chain
Hellenistic (Ptolemaic), around 200 BC
Gold earrings with the 'Crown of Isis'
Following the arrival of Alexander the Great in Egypt in 332 BC, the jewellery industry of Egypt became almost completely Hellenized. It is probable that during the Ptolemaic period most of the goldsmiths manufacturing for the general market were Greek, and the wealthy wearers of gold jewellery were also mainly Greek. Jewellery with Egyptianized details, such as these earrings, is found throughout the Hellenistic world and was not exclusively manufactured in Egypt.
The earrings consist of amphorae with beaded chain pendants, suspended from gold discs. A long chain joins the two earrings and could have been worn either round the back of the neck or pinned across the chest.
Each amphora is formed by a central garnet and dolphin-shaped handles. Chain pendants on each side of the amphora end in garnets, pearls and emerald beads. The amphora is suspended by a hook from a disc. Each disc is inlaid with garnets, and topped with a stylized crown. The design of the crown conforms to the so-called 'Crown of Isis', a common motif in jewellery of the period: Ptolemaic queens were assimilated with the goddess Isis and both were associated with this type of crown. The crown consists of a sun-disc capped by two feathered plumes that were originally inlaid with another material, now lost. The crown motif rests on the horns of a cow, a symbol usually associated with the Egyptian goddess Hathor. On these earrings the horns form a pattern beneath the plumes, and a garnet is placed in the crown.
B.Deppert-Lippitz, Griechischer Goldschmuck (Mainz am Rhein, 1985)
S. Walker and P. Higgs, Cleopatra of Egypt: from histo (London, The British Museum Press, 2001)
F.H. Marshall, Catalogue of the jewellery, Gr (London, 1911)