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  • Place of origin:

    Italy (made)
    Tuscany (worn)

  • Date:

    1820-1867 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Red and yellow gold, filigree, pearls and seed pearls

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93 mezzanine, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 76, shelf C, box 2 []

Italian women have always loved lavish display. Even for the poorest, a rich show of jewellery was all important. Italian goldsmiths were expert at making a little material go a very long way. Many pieces seem too large to wear comfortably, but they are usually made of very thin gold, and are much lighter than they appear.

All Italian women wore gold earrings. Their shapes varied widely in different places. This pair of earrings come from Tuscany. Large trapezoid earrings, often decorated with rows of irregular pearls, were common in Tuscany in the first half of the 19th century. The shape seems to have gone out of fashion by around 1860, and few examples have survived.

These earrings were bought as part of the Castellani collection of Italian Peasant Jewellery at the International Exhibition, Paris, 1867.

Physical description

Pair of earrings consisting of a trapezoid sheet of yellow gold filigree coils, faced with lozenges and ovals of red gold, with five pearls attached by wire in a vertical row down the centre, and a border of seed pearls and red gold discs. Hinged wire at back.

Place of Origin

Italy (made)
Tuscany (worn)


1820-1867 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Red and yellow gold, filigree, pearls and seed pearls


Length: 8.4 cm, Width: 3.0 cm, Depth: 2.4 cm

Descriptive line

Earrings of red and yellow gold and filigree, decorated with pearls, Italy, 1820-1867.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

'Italian Jewellery as worn by the Peasants of Italy', Arundel Society, London, 1868, Plate 4


Gold; Pearl; Pearls




Jewellery; Metalwork; Europeana Fashion Project


Metalwork Collection

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