Pair of ear studs

6th century BCE
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General Description

Although ear studs were apparently less common than a bauletto earrings [1991.75.13.a-b], pictorial representations indicate that they were popular in Etruria during the 6th century BCE. Actual examples, however, are as rare as they are in Greece, where the type seems to have originated, as evidenced by their frequent representation on statues, in vase painting, and on coins. Ear studs consist of a disk, varying in diameter from two to six centimeters, with a hollow tube—usually of silver—projecting from the back. A corresponding rear piece has a narrower tube that fits into the one on the frontal disk.

These ear studs are the same type as another in the Dallas Museum of Art's collection (1991.75.18); they both feature a central rosette composed of slightly concave strips of sheet gold and a granulated line in the center, framed by decorative zones arranged in concentric circles. A circle with even, dustlike granulation, closest to the rosette, is surrounded by a zone of heart shapes rendered in repoussé and granulation, then by a zone of lotus buds in the same technique, and, finally, by a zone of punched crosses cut from sheet gold. The back of each stud was originally reinforced with a silver disk. Piece "a" still has the silver disk on the back; piece "b" has traces of silver corrosion.

Adapted from

Barbara Deppert-Lippitz, Ancient Gold Jewelry at the Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art in association with the University of Washington Press, 1996), 35; 126-7.

Fun Facts

  • Jewelry was far more than merely ornament to the Etruscans; it was often close to being a magic charm or amulet and implied the protection of the gods.