Roman Gold Earrings with Glass Pendants

£ 1,350.00

A pair of beautiful ancient Roman gold earrings with glass beads pendants. Each earring consists of a sheet of gold forming a large disc in the shape of a rosette, curving slightly outwards. The disc is worked with the openwork technique and each petal is carved with beautiful details. A small glass bead is set in the centre of the composition. Three pendants hand from a scrolled crossbar, finished with a circular pale green, glass bead covered in iridescence. Long hooks at the reverse allow the earrings to be worn. A beautiful set distinctive of the 3rd century AD.

Date: Circa 3rd century AD
Provenance: Ex Alison Barker collection, retired Barrister-at-law, acquired 1970s-2000s. Ex Cambridge private collection.
Condition: Very good condition. A slight dent on one of the earrings. Can be worn with care.


Product Code: RES-189
Category: Tags: , ,

During the Roman Empire, jewellery became quickly a fundamental and essential social display of wealth. Following the spread of the Roman Empire, Roman jewellery became more and more elaborate in the designs and in the materials used. Semi-precious gemstones, or glass beads, were used to enrich and embellish earrings, rings and necklaces. 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.

Earrings of this kind were known as ‘crotalia’ (from the Greek word for ‘rattle’ or ‘castanets’) because the pearl pendants would produce a jingling noise when worn. They were extremely popular with Roman ladies, and numerous examples have been found at Pompeii and Herculaneum.

To discover more about jewellery in the Roman Empire, please see our relevant blog post: Jewellery In Antiquity.

Weight 8.9 g
Dimensions L 4 x W 2.5 cm





Southern Europe

Reference: For Similar: Bonhams Auction House, London, Antiquities, 28th October 2004, lot 120

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