Large Eastern Hellenistic Gold Earrings with Garnet and Agate


A beautiful pair of large Hellenistic earrings cast from gold featuring a thick crescentic loop adorned with delicate filigree along the edges. Five spheres sit in a row to the back of the loop, each topped with a smaller sphere. A tear-shaped cabochon garnet inset features at the front and back of the earring and is framed with a row of granulation. Underneath is a conical and a round cabochon garnet inset, both enriched with fine granulation. A gold chain hangs below the teardrop stone hung from a loop adorned with two small circular garnets in gold frames on either side. A loop is attached to the bottom which is further embellished with a purple and white stone, a ring of granules and a garnet finished with a small gold ball holding it in place. A large banded agate stone dangles below the main loop enclosed by granules placed in the shape of small triangles in a horizontal row. Smaller gold triangles and rows of granulation decorate underneath the stone in which a gold conical finial, made up from a five large spheres, is attached. Upside-down tear drop cabochon garnets embellish the bottom of the earring each framed by a band of granules. A gold pin goes through the centre holding the dangle of gold, garnet and agate in place.


Date: Circa 3rd-1st Century BC
Condition: Very fine condition, slight break at the bottom of the loop of one of the earrings.

In stock

SKU: LD-384 Category: Tags: , ,

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.

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.

To find out more about different metal decorative techniques please see our relevant blog post: Decorative Metalwork Techniques

Weight 34.4 g
Dimensions L 6.8 x W 3.6 cm


Semi-Precious Stones