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  • Place of origin:

    Piedmont (made)

  • Date:

    1800-1867 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gold set with seed pearls, pearls, and garnets

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

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. The garnets 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. One of the most popular designs was the girandole, with three drops hanging from a central boss. This 17th century pattern survived until the end of the 19th century with traditional costume in Italy. This earring is typical of Piedmont, although similar patterns were found throughout central and northern Italy in the 19th century. The original owner of this earring would probably have had a long matching pendant as well.

It was bought for £4 (the pair) as part of the Castellani collection of Italian Peasant Jewellery at the International Exhibition, Paris, 1867.

Physical description

Girandole earring of pierced sheet gold set with wired pearls surrounded by flat-cut garnets, with occasional seed pearls tied to the edges. Hinged wire.

Place of Origin

Piedmont (made)


1800-1867 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Gold set with seed pearls, pearls, and garnets

Marks and inscriptions

cloud with rain, inside a circular frame
On the front of the central part, on left rim; on the front of each pendant, at the tip; and on the side of the wire.


Length: 8.0 cm, Width: 5.7 cm, Depth: 1.8 cm

Descriptive line

Gold girandole earring set with garnets and pearls, Piedmont (Italy), 1800-1867.

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

'Italian Jewellery as worn by the Peasants of Italy', Arundel Society, London, 1868, Plate 1


Gold; Garnet; Pearl; Pearls


Jewellery; Metalwork


Metalwork Collection

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