In Focus

Etruscan Gold

Etruscan goldsmiths' work is some of the most brilliant metal craftsmanship anywhere in the world. Drawing on the far older traditions of Egyptian and Near Eastern metal work, as well as Central European metallurgy, Etruscan jewelers of the 7th and 6th centuries B.C.E. created granulated and filigreed ornaments of lavish richness and complexity.

Like most ancient jewelry, Etruscan ornaments were primarily made of thin sheet gold in raised relief, or repoussé. The basic form was then ornamented with patterns of tiny gold globules (granulation) or with designs in gold wire (filigree). Basic types of jewelry included fibulae, which were brooch pins for joining parts of cloth garments, diadems, earrings, necklaces, pendants, and finger rings. The luxurious ornaments of the Archaic Period continued to be made well into Hellenistic times in the Etruscan cities. As in large-scale Etruscan art, the imagery used in jewelry was often drawn from Greek mythology. The Dallas Museum of Art's collection includes examples of lions, gorgons, sphinxes, Athena's aegis, and a winged charioteer who is perhaps the sun god Helios.

Excerpt from

DMA unpublished material, Label copy.