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Necklace

  • Place of origin:

    Rome (necklace, made)

  • Date:

    before 1925 (made)
    500-300 BC (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Castellani (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gold decorated with granulation; carved and engraved carnelian scarabs

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the family of Ernest and Antoinette Jones

  • Museum number:

    M.34-2001

  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 21, shelf C, box 6

This necklace is an important example of an archaelogical type of jewellery which is based on earlier nineteenth century protoypes, such as the Campana collection necklace in the Louvre, rather than original ancient models. The prototype necklaces may have been made or retailed by the Castellani family and consisted of authentic Etruscan carnelian scarabs strung with ancient gold beads. The varying dates of the components make it highly unlikely that an original scarab necklace ever existed or that such jewellery was worn before the nineteenth century. The Castellani firm, and other archaelogical jewellers, then made necklaces in the same style using genuine scarabs with contemporary gold beads.

Physical description

Gold necklace composed of granulated gold beads alternating with broad collars to which are attached cornelian scarabs mounted in gold. With the applied monogram of Castellani.

Place of Origin

Rome (necklace, made)

Date

before 1925 (made)
500-300 BC (made)

Artist/maker

Castellani (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Gold decorated with granulation; carved and engraved carnelian scarabs

Dimensions

Height: 3.3 cm, Width: 1.2 cm, Diameter: 18 cm

Object history note

The scarabs: 500-300 BC. With the applied monogram of Castellani. Bought by Ernest and Antoinette Jones from Alfredo Castellani in Rome in 1925.

Castellani Jewellery Exhibition RF.2003/302

Historical context note

Eugéne Piot, Cabinet de l'Amateur, 1862-3, p.211 sq.: 'Dans les campagnes d'Etrurie, les paysans (...) aprés les pluies d'orage du mois d'octobre(...) parcourent les champs et vont à la chasse des scarabées antiques. L'eau, en s'écoulant, a emporté au loin la terre légère; il ne reste plus au fond des ravins qu'elle a creusés, que du sable grossier et des petits cailloux; c'est dans ces ravins, confondus avec les cailloux, que se trouvent les antiques. Outre des scarabées, ils y trouvent des monnaies et des bronzes.
Il y a dix ans, quelques amateurs de Chiusi, de Cortone ou de Montepulciano possédaient encore de grands colliers de scarabées qui provenaient de ces patientes moissons. Achetés par M. Campana, la plupart figurent aujourd'hui au musée Napoléon III; les autres ont été dispersés depuis que la mode est venue de porter les scarabées montés en or, à la manière antique, par l'habile orfèvre romain CAstellani.'

Descriptive line

Gold necklace, decorated with granulation, and mounted with 21 cornelian scarabs, by Castellani, Rome, before 1925

Production Note

The scarabs are Etruscan, 500-300BC

Materials

Gold; Carnelian

Subjects depicted

Scarabs; Antique

Categories

Jewellery; Archaeology; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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