Roman, Imperial Period, ca. 1st to 3rd century CE. Wow! An elegant pair of earrings originally made to be worn by an elite woman. Each is composed of 85% gold (equivalent to 20K+) sheet hammered into a square with a reinforced lower edge and three loops embedded in it. Below those loops are three dangling hammered sheet diamonds, also made of hammered gold. Inlaid into each diamond face – three total on each earring – is a wine red garnet disc. Below the diamond is a trapezoid with repousse mirrored wing forms and a gold pin emerging from its lower end. Below that on two of the three is a large, pale green chalcedony bead; a same-sized chalcedony bead is placed in the center of the gold sheet above using a delicate gold wire. Although the form sounds complicated, when viewed together they form a cohesive whole that calls to mind an altar or entrance to a temple. Furnished with modern solid 14K ear hooks and modern solid 10K rings, these earrings are wearable. Size: 0.55″ W x 1.55″ H (1.4 cm x 3.9 cm); gold is 85%, equivalent to 20K+; total weight: 7.8 grams
Provenance: ex-private Johnson collection, Houston, Texas, USA, acquired at auction between 2010 and 2013
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Hooks and rings are modern, but everything else is ancient. One of the red garnets is lost. The gold sheet has some tiny tears along its edges. Wearable!