Materials & Techniques

A Pulviscolo Granulation (Etruscan jewelry technique)

A few Etruscan workshops practiced a pulviscolo, or "fine dust" granulation on their jewelry. In this technique, the granules are so small that they cannot form regular patterns, but rather have to be applied at random. Whole areas may be covered with dust granulation, giving a distinct texture to the surface. Good examples are the leaf-shaped ornaments attached to a pair of earrings (1968.13.a-b) and the less fine granulation in the center of the shield-like extension of another pair (1991.75.11.a-b). In silhouette-style a pulviscolo, the granulation forms figures set against a plain background. A rare technique is the reversed silhouette style, in which the background is completely covered with granules while the main features — in this case palmettes on the front and an undulating band on the side — are left undecorated, as seen in an example from the Dallas Museum of Art's collection (1991.75.12.a-b).

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), 33.