Roman Gold Earrings with Bosses


A pair of Ancient Roman gold hoop earrings with a hook-and-eye closure, now set in place. Each earring features a twisted gold wire hoop decorated with a large convex discus attached. Two pyramidal clusters of a large and small granules decorate the lower section of the earring. Hoop earrings were a staple and favourite piece of jewellery amongst the Roman aristocracy.

Date: Circa 1st-2nd century AD
Provenance: From a collection of a London lady, acquired annually during 1990s-2000s.
Condition: Fine condition. The bosses and the loops are slightly misshaped due to age with damage to the lower edge of one of the bosses. One granule is missing on one of the clusters.

In stock

SKU: SK-128 Category: Tags: ,

Ancient Roman jewellery was an essential public display of wealth. Roman jewellery at first followed the trends set by the Etruscans. As the Roman empire grew, jewellery designs and materials became even more elaborate, incorporating different cultural styles from Greece, Egypt, North Africa and the East. Earrings such as this fine example, would have been worn by straightening the pointed, gold wire through the pierced ear and then twisting it so that the earring would not open again.

Granulation (from the Latin ‘granum’ meaning ‘grain’) was the technique used by Roman jewellers to create the miniature gold spheres which adorn the hoops. It involved making tiny gold granules and then attaching them individually to the base piece. The oldest known examples made with this process date back to 2500BC and were found in the tombs of Ur, in Mesopotamia. From there, the technique spread through Syria and reached its peak with the Etruscans in the 7th-6th centuries BC.

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

Weight 1.98 g
Dimensions L 1.9 x W 1.3 cm



Reference: For a similar item, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, item 1992.263.3a, b

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