Elaborate Ancient Roman Electrum Earrings with Glass, Pearls and Carnelian Beads
An elaborate pair of Roman earrings modelled from electrum and finely embellished with glass paste, pearls and carnelian beads. Both earrings are composed of a wide penannular loop for attachment to the ear, and features a central double arch pendant made from fine filigree work. Each double arch pendant is attached to the hoop by two loop chains and a central attachment comprised of a glass cylindrical bead and a natural pearl. Further attachments hang from the central arch, again comprised of a glass cylindrical bead and two pearls, interspersed with gold granules, arranged in two rows. The central attachment features a large carnelian teardrop stone. These types of earrings were popular in Roman Egypt. Weight for the pair: 13.6 g.
Date: Circa 1st BC - 3rd century AD Provenance: Ex private London, UK, collection, 1970-1990. Condition: Very fine, one glass bead and pearl bead missing from one of the earrings. These earrings are suitable for modern wear with modern hook or stud applied. Please consult a professional jeweller for any alterations.
As in many ancient societies, jewellery was an important social marker used to demonstrate wealth. As a result of the expansion of the Roman Empire, Roman jewellery became more and more elaborate in its designs and materials used, such as precious and semi-precious gemstones. Pearls especially were highly treasured by the Romans, worn as a public display of richness and prestige. Many Roman funerary portraits excavated in Egypt, show women of the high society wearing gold earrings with pearls. Roman jewellery often reflected the culture the Romans came into contact with, and can be viewed as a testament to the prosperity and power of the Roman Empire.