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  • Place of origin:

    Naples (made)

  • Date:

    1830-1867 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gold covered with seed pearls

  • 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. Goldsmiths in the south of Italy made lavish use of seed pearls, which were abundant in the warm waters of the Mediterranean before the industrial age. They attached the seed pearls with thin gold wires. When these broke, as they frequently did, the pearls were lost.

All Italian women wore gold earrings. Their shapes varied widely in different places. This earring comes from Ariano in Campania, but earrings of this type were made and worn throughout southern Italy. It was bought as part of the Castellani collection of Italian Peasant Jewellery at the International Exhibition, Paris, 1867.

Physical description

Earring with domed front decorated with concentric circles of seed pearls. A pear-shaped hollow pendant hangs from the wire, made from strips of gold wire covered with strings of seed pearls, with a single pendant pearl hanging from the bottom. Hinged wire at back.

Place of Origin

Naples (made)


1830-1867 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Gold covered with seed pearls

Marks and inscriptions

woman's head between the characters 'N' and '6' in a rectangular frame
Mark used for gold, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (southern Italy) 1832-1872
On the side of the wire and on the suspension ring of the pendant.

illegible mark
Mark of unidentified maker
On the wire.


Length: 8.2 cm, Width: 2.0 cm, Depth: 1.7 cm

Descriptive line

Gold pendant earring covered with seed pearls, Ariano (Italy), 1830-1867.

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

'Italian Jewellery as worn by the Peasants of Italy', Arundel Society, London, 1868, Plate 10

Production Note

Worn in Ariano


Gold; Pearls


Jewellery; Metalwork


Metalwork Collection

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