In Focus

Etruscan Jewelry: Classical period

In contrast to Etruscan gold jewelry of the early Orientalizing stage, that of the Classical period is comparatively rare. Although the forms became less elaborate, the artistic talent of the Etruscan goldsmith was still strong enough to create novel shapes and develop new stylistic tendencies.

To break up the surface of a piece of gold and create an irregular ornamental texture, often in high relief, Etruscan goldsmiths favored several three-dimensional decorative means. One is granulation; another is the application of short strips of sheet gold coiled under at both ends (1991.75.3). Developed as early as the 7th century BCE, this decorative technique was used by Etruscan goldsmiths for several centuries. A technically and stylistically related decoration is the high, undulating border of strips of gold bent into wide loops and set on the sheet base at a right angle. Such undulating strips were used to frame single sections (1991.75.13.a-b, 1968.13.a-b, 1991.75.11.a-b). Another interesting innovation of 6th century BCE. Etruscan goldsmiths is the filigree coil, which was used especially for an absract type of rosette (1991.75.16.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), 33-35.