A magnificent pair of Hellenistic gold earrings featuring the large head of an antelope. The elegant head is designed from sheet metal, hollowed and indented to form the animal’s facial profile. The almond shaped eyes and indented cheeks of the antelope are clearly recognisable. The slender horns of the animals have been designed from thin rods of gold, with additional filigree decoration added. Filigree elements have also been used to create another decorative element to the antelope’s neck, as the head tapers to a point towards the hoop. The large circular hoop is composed of a twisting, tapering band, which ends in a point and hooks to a suspension loop beneath the snout.
Date: Circa 4th - 3rd century BC Provenance: Acquired 1970-1999. London collection of the late Mr S.M., thence by descent. Condition: Excellent. Some wear to one of the heads and indentations. One suspension loop is also missing. See images for details. Combined weight 16.99 grams.
This type of earing was popular from the 6th century BC, originating with a plain hoop. The twisted variety that we see here was a continuation of the type, popular from the 4th – 3rd centuries BC. Examples with varying terminals have been discovered, from snarling lions, elegant antelopes and robust bulls. Examples also exist with the addition of semi-precious stones, set in inlays and enamel, creating vibrant examples.