As in many ancient societies, jewellery was an important social marker used to demonstrate wealth and richness. In Ancient Greek culture jewellery was worn in everyday life but was also buried with the decease as part of his or her funerary outfit. Jewellery might have been enriched by precious and semi-precious stones and decorative motives would have included popular myths, gods, goddesses, and heroes. Earrings such as these became very popular from the 6th century BC onwards and thicker models have been found also in the Greek colonies of south Italy. The most common models included many zoomorphic heads, such as bulls’, lions’, goats’ heads and dolphins. Jewellery such as this was crafted for everyday use, instead of being destined exclusively to a funerary purpose.
Greek Hellenistic Earring with Bull Head Terminal
A finely rendered Greek Hellenistic single gold earring, formed from a coiled circular wire hoop, which tapers towards one end and features a bull head terminal on the other. The bull’s head is modelled from a thin layer of sheet, and features naturalistically rendered facial and anatomical features. The tapering end closes the earring by hooking onto a loop attached to the animals’ chin. This fine earring testifies the refinement of gold working in Ancient Greece during the Hellenistic period.
Provenance: From the collection of a London gentleman, 1980s-90s.
Condition: Very fine, suitable for modern wear through the application of a stud or loop. Please consult a professional jeweller for alterations