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  • Place of origin:

    Rome, Italy (made)

  • Date:

    1860-1869 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Castellani (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gold, pierced and mounted with pearls

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Emily, Dowager Countess of Crawford

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, room 122g, case 11

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Object Type
Each earring is formed of a convex pierced rosette with a pearl in the centre. Below the rosette is fixed a bar set with four pearls and hung with pearl-tipped pendants. The design derives from a Byzantine type.

The firm of Castellani was founded in Rome by Fortunato Pio Castellani (1794-1865). In the mid-1820s Castellani won the patronage of the distinguished archaeologist Michelangelo Caetani, later Duke of Sermoneta. In 1851 Caetani inspired Castellani and his sons Alessandro (1823-1883) and Augusto (1829-1914) to concentrate on jewellery based on classical models.

Design & Designing
Emily, Dowager Countess of Crawford, wrote in 1921, when she presented this necklace to the V&A, together with a wreath and a pair of earrings (also on display), that they had been made 'from the design of Michelangelo, Duke of Sermoneta, in conjunction with Castellani', and she gave W. W. Watts, Keeper of Metalwork, to understand that they had been a wedding gift. As Emily Bootle-Wilbraham, in 1869 she had married James, Lord Lindsay, later 26th Earl of Crawford.

However, the jewellery historian Geoffrey Munn has pointed out that Michelangelo Caetani was blind from 1865. If it is true that the jewellery was a wedding gift and that Caetani had some influence on the design, the simplest explanation may be that the jewellery given to Emily in 1869 was a further development of a design conceived earlier by Caetani and Castellani.

Place of Origin

Rome, Italy (made)


1860-1869 (made)


Castellani (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Gold, pierced and mounted with pearls

Marks and inscriptions

Applied mark of Castellani: two addorsed Cs


Height: 3.81 cm, Width: 2 cm, Depth: 0.3 cm

Object history note

Made in Rome by the firm of Castellani (active about 1814-1930)

Descriptive line

Pair of gold and pearl earrings by Castellani, Rome, 1860-9

Labels and date

British Galleries:


Enthusiasm for the arts of the classical world led to a fashion in Britain for jewellery based on archaeological models. The Italian firm of Castellani became celebrated for creating jewellery in this style. The tiara was inspired by an Etruscan wreath (4th century BC) and the necklace by a Roman necklace (2nd or 3rd century AD). The pearl and gold earrings look like Byzantine jewellery. The necklace and tiara imitate early examples held in the British Museum. [27/03/2003]



Collection code


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