Earring thumbnail 1
Earring thumbnail 2
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93 mezzanine, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery

Earring

1830-1867 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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. They used thin sheet gold to make impressive pieces of jewellery, and decorated them with glass stones made to look like real gems. The red pastes in this earring have been backed with metallic foil to improve their colour. Red and gold are the dominant colours in Italian traditional jewellery.

All Italian women wore gold earrings. Their shapes varied widely in different places. This earring comes from Avellino, in Campania, and is typical of those worn throughout southern Italy and Sicily. It carries gold marks for the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies from the early 19th century.

It was bought as part of the Castellani collection of Italian Peasant Jewellery at the International Exhibition, Paris, 1867. At the top of the wire there is a small loop, through which the wearer threaded a ribbon, to help relieve the strain on the ear-lobe.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Gold set with imitation garnets
Brief Description
Gold girandole earring set with imitation garnets, Naples (Italy), 1830-1867.
Physical Description
Large girandole earring of openwork floral pattern set with glass pastes over red foil in high conical mounts, surrounded by hollow conical projections. The main conical mounts are riveted to the base. The main conical mount on the top section is surrounded by two superimposed discs of thin sheet gold cut away so that only a ring of curved trefoils remains. Hinged wire, with loop for support.
Dimensions
  • Length: 12.8cm
  • Width: 9.9cm
  • Depth: 2.8cm
Marks and Inscriptions
  • woman's head between the characters 'N' and '6' in a rectangular frame (On front of each piece. Mark used for gold, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (southern Italy) 1832-1872.)
  • illegible mark (On loop at top.)
Summary
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. They used thin sheet gold to make impressive pieces of jewellery, and decorated them with glass stones made to look like real gems. The red pastes in this earring have been backed with metallic foil to improve their colour. Red and gold are the dominant colours in Italian traditional jewellery.



All Italian women wore gold earrings. Their shapes varied widely in different places. This earring comes from Avellino, in Campania, and is typical of those worn throughout southern Italy and Sicily. It carries gold marks for the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies from the early 19th century.



It was bought as part of the Castellani collection of Italian Peasant Jewellery at the International Exhibition, Paris, 1867. At the top of the wire there is a small loop, through which the wearer threaded a ribbon, to help relieve the strain on the ear-lobe.
Bibliographic Reference
'Italian Jewellery as worn by the Peasants of Italy', Arundel Society, London, 1868, Plate 10 Percival, MacIver, 'Chats on old jewellery and trinkets', T. Fisher Unwin, London, 1912, p.197, fig. 5
Collection
Accession Number
251-1868

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record createdFebruary 8, 2008
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