The ancient Romans considered jewellery to be an essential accessory, for it provided a public display of their wealth. Roman jewellery at first followed trends set by the Etruscans, using gold and glass beads, but as the power and spread of the Roman Empire increased, so too did jewellery designs became increasingly elaborate. Different cultural styles from Greece, Egypt, North Africa, and the Orient were all incorporated to reflect Rome’s prosperity as a dominant, conquering city. The wide range of natural resources enabled artisans to create ostentatious jewellery using a diverse selection of materials: this increasingly included sapphires, diamonds, emeralds, garnet and amber from India, and pearls (which were particularly prized). Archaeological finds of Roman jewellery are relatively rare, considering the magnitude of Roman civilisation, and the historical and geographical span of the Empire.
A Pair Of Gold Roman Earrings with Pearls
A pair of gold earrings from ancient Rome, featuring a central white and a coral bead. The white bead is likely to be an ancient replacement for the other coral bead that might have fallen out. Each earring comprises an openwork disc reminiscent of a rosette; a central bead on a cross-wire; and a bar below carrying three hanging pendants with pearl beads. Open ended hooks in the back allowed the ancient owner to wear the pieces.
Condition: Very good condition. Some encrustation present, one of the hooks is missing its tip. The replacement of the coral bead with the white bead is likely to have been an ancient replacement for the damage to the earring.
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