A beautiful and elaborate matching pair of Ancient Roman earrings, modelled in high karat gold, each featuring a hoop formed by a single thin rod of gold, with the end enclosed through a loop. Although gold hoop earrings were among the most common types of earrings in Ancient Rome, this specimen has been enriched by a gold conical pendant hanging from the centre of the earring. The pendant is embellished with a single tear drop shaped cabochon garnet inset framed by a delicate band of granules. Further intricate granulation decorates the piece with a band of larger granules to each side. Holes to the back of the earrings suggest the possibility of further semiprecious stone insets, now sadly missing.
Date: Circa 1st-3rd century AD Provenance: From a Central London gentleman, 1970’s London art market Condition: Fine condition. These earrings are suitable for modern wear with modern hook or stud applied. Please consult a professional jeweller for any alterations.
As in many ancient societies, jewellery was an important social marker used to demonstrate wealth. Following the spread of the Roman Empire, Roman jewellery became more and more elaborate in the designs and in the materials used, such as garnet. In Antiquity, garnet was very popular due to its deep colouration and for the meaning that was attributed to it. The word garnet originates from the Latin word granatus translating to seed or grain. In Ancient Greek and Roman mythology, Hades gave pomegranate seeds to his lover Persephone, as a token of safety, while she was leaving the underworld to join her mother Demeter in the human world. The semi-precious stone, recalling the colour and the shape of the pomegranate seed, became a typical gift exchanged between separated lovers.
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