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Home > Auctions > 24th May 2022 > Large Eastern Hellenistic Gold Earrings with Garnets

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LOT 0057

GBP (£) 6,000 - 8,000
EUR (€) 7,000 - 9,330
USD ($) 7,490 - 9,990

£5,400 (EUR 6,298; USD 6,745) (+bp*)

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A matched pair of substantial gold earrings, each composed of a gold crescentic hoop with looped terminals, filigree ornament and cells set with polished garnet cabochons to the body, pelletted triangular plaques capping a large banded agate bead below, conical finial composed of hollow gold spheres and inverted tear-shaped cells set with garnet, all encrusted with gold granules, each hoop with a length of trichinopoly chain suspending garnet, gold and amethyst beads on a slender coiled wire stem; a marriage. 2 1/4 in. (34.4 grams total, 55-58 mm). Fine condition. [2]

Acquired 1990s.
Ex property of a London gentleman.
Accompanied by an archaeological expertise by Dr Raffaele D'Amato.
Accompanied by scholarly note TL05418 by Dr Ronald Bonewitz.
This lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate no.11185-186691.

Cf. MET accession no., for the type of composition and manufacture style, 2nd century B.C.; Ogden, J. and Williams, D., Greek Gold Jewelry of The Classical World, New York, 1994; Contestabile, H., ‘Hellenistic Jewelry & the Commoditization of Elite Greek Women’ in Berkeley Undergraduate Journal of Classics, 2(2), Berkeley, 2013, pp. 1-13, for discussion on the style; Quast, D., ‘Parthian and early Sassanian Earrings with garnet inlay’ in Le Archeologie di Marilli, miscellanea di studi in ricordo di Maria Maddalena Negro Ponzi Mancini, Alessandria, 2018, pp.123-128, figs.3,5, for other samples with garnet insert.

The boat-shaped central body is typical of old style Greek earrings and is well attested in the early Hellenistic jewellery from Taranto (Williams & Ogden, 1994, p.213), but the abundant use of filigree fits with examples from Eastern Mediterranean area (Williams & Ogden, 1994, p.243). However, during the Parthian period, a new style of decoration became popular in Central and Western Asia: the earrings with garnet and / or glass inlays, developed in the eastern Hellenistic kingdoms and the Arsacid Empire.