Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.



  • Place of origin:

    Italy (possibly, made)
    France (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    1800-1867 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gilded sheet metal

  • 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. Many pieces seem too large to wear comfortably, but they are usually made of very thin gold, or gilded metal, and are much lighter than they appear.

All Italian women wore gold earrings. Their shapes varied widely in different places. This earring was acquired in southern Italy, but the design is not distinctive. Although it is marked on the wire, it is probably made of gilded metal, not gold. Marks like this are more typical of French goldsmiths, rather than Italian. It may have been imported from France, or possibly made in Italy when the country was under French administration at the beginning of the 19th century.

It was bought as part of the Castellani collection of Italian Peasant Jewellery at the International Exhibition, Paris, 1867.

Physical description

Earring with a hinged wire, and a small hollow domed button on the front, in which the end of the wire catches. From the wire hangs a hollow spherical pendant, made of two halves soldered together vertically.

Place of Origin

Italy (possibly, made)
France (possibly, made)


1800-1867 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Gilded sheet metal

Marks and inscriptions

illegible mark in square frame
Possibly French mark for plated metal
On each side of the wire


Length: 3.7 cm, Diameter: 1.7 cm

Descriptive line

Gilt earring with hollow pendant ball, Southern Italy, 1800-1867.

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

'Italian Jewellery as worn by the Peasants of Italy', Arundel Society, London, 1868, Plate 11

Production Note

Worn in the southern provinces and Sicily




Jewellery; Metalwork


Metalwork Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.