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  • Plaque
    Castellani, Alessandro, born 1823 - died 1883
  • Enlarge image


  • Place of origin:

    Italy (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1870-1880 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Castellani, Alessandro, born 1823 - died 1883 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gold, with granulation

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 21, shelf A, box 5

It is probable that this necklace was made by Alessandro Castellani who's fine workmanship makes it hard for the eye to differentiate between his techniques used to imitate antique jewellery and those of the Ancient World. Under the microscope the differences are much clearer. The granulated design and "Etruscan" inscription on this plaque were produced using particles of solder to secure the very small grains of gold.

In antiquity, an organic glue and a substance containing copper was spread on the gold and the jewellery heated. At 850 degrees centigrade the carbon from the burnt glue reacts with the substance containing copper to release pure copper. This copper lowers the melting point of the gold. It alloys with, and diffuses into, the gold thus bonding the sheet, wires and granules in place.

Physical description

Rectangular gold plaque with Etruscan inscription

Place of Origin

Italy (made)


ca. 1870-1880 (made)


Castellani, Alessandro, born 1823 - died 1883 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Gold, with granulation

Marks and inscriptions

The inscription may be translated 'Of the Etruscan People'
Inscription is part of a tomb inscription in Tarquinia


Length: 6.2 cm, Height: 2.9 cm

Object history note

Castellani Jewellery Exhibition RF.2003/302

Historical context note

Formerly in the collection of Alessandro Castellani

Descriptive line

Gold, with Etruscan inscription, Italy, possibly Naples, about 1870-1880; made by Alessandro Castellani (1824-83)








Metalwork Collection

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