- Museum number
Gold necklace of twenty-four gold beads, with a small oblong plaque at each end, decorated above with the figure of a horned river-god; two of the beads are plain, three are decorated with granulation, and the rest are decorated with various designs in filigree and granulation; also attached to the necklace are twenty-one carnelian scarabs, catalogued separately.
- Production date
- 5thC BC (circa)
Length: 28.10 centimetres
Weight: 1262 grains
- Curator's comments
- Text: J. Rudoe 'The 19th Century: the Great Age of Faking' from Jones 1990, cat no. 172
Scarab necklace from the Castellani Collection
This necklace was acquired as part of a collection of over 2,000 pieces of ancient jewellery purchased from the dealer, antiquarian and jeweller, Alessandro Castellani in 1872 (see also registration no. 1865,0712.212 ). In Castellani's privately printed catalogue of his collection it is described as coming from Canino, near Vulci. Its authenticity was doubted by 1911, when it was catalogued as 'about fifth century BC, if genuine' (Marshall no. 2273). Marshall gave no reasons for his doubts. However, the cage-like construction of the scarab mounts, formed of two fine twisted wires joined to the base by rosettes, suggests a nineteenth-century origin and recent scientific examination has shown that these scarab mounts are made with drawn wire. It now seems that this, like a number of other pieces emanating from the Castellani family, was assembled in the nineteenth century from various ancient elements - in this case including Etruscan fifth-century BC scarabs and beads.
Many such 'restorations' provided the inspiration for revivalist jewels made by the Castellani firm which made 'archaeological-style' jewellery from the 1850s to the 1930s, thereby reproducing the error time and again.
Literature: J. Rudoe, in The Art of the Jeweller: A Catalogue of the Hull Grundy Gift to the British Museum, London 1984, no. 959; exhibition catalogue, Castellani and Giuliano, Wartski, London 1984, nos 6 and 7; J. Swaddling, A. Oddy & Meeks, N, 'Etruscan gold wire', pp.7-21 in Jewellery Studies 5, 1991, Classical Gold Jewellery and the Classical Tradition.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2005 19 Oct-2006 16 Jan, France, Musée du Louvre, Bijioux et pastiches de la collection Campana
2006 30 Mar-2 Jul, Rome, Capitoline Museum, Trésors Antiques: Bijoux de la collection Campana
2012, 26th March - 17th July, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Manarat Al Saadiyat, 'Treasures of the British Museum'
November 2012-April 2013, Germany, Bonn, Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany, 'Treasures of the World's Cultures'.
- Acquisition date
- Greek and Roman
- Registration number