Earring thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Earring

1800-1867 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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. They used thin sheet gold to make impressive pieces of jewellery, and decorated them with glass stones made to look like real gems.

Red was the most popular colour in traditional jewellery throughout Italy. In the northern and central regions the jewellers usually decorated their jewellery with garnets, as here, often mixed with pearls. This earring, which comes from Genoa, has white pastes, which were much less common, and may reflect Genoa’s international outlook. The setting of the garnets is also more elaborate than is usual in Italian traditional jewellery.

It was bought for 12 shillings (the pair) as part of the Castellani collection of Italian Peasant Jewellery at the International Exhibition, Paris, 1867.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Gold set with garnets and white pastes
Brief Description
Gold girandole earring set with garnets and white pastes, Genoa (Italy), 1800-1867.
Physical Description
Gold openwork girandole earring, set with flat-cut garnets and white pastes. Hinged wire.
Dimensions
  • Length: 5.3cm
  • Width: 3.2cm
  • Depth: 1.0cm
Marks and Inscriptions
fleur-de-lys in circular frame (On the front of each pendant, at the tip; and on the side of the wire.)
Summary
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. They used thin sheet gold to make impressive pieces of jewellery, and decorated them with glass stones made to look like real gems.



Red was the most popular colour in traditional jewellery throughout Italy. In the northern and central regions the jewellers usually decorated their jewellery with garnets, as here, often mixed with pearls. This earring, which comes from Genoa, has white pastes, which were much less common, and may reflect Genoa’s international outlook. The setting of the garnets is also more elaborate than is usual in Italian traditional jewellery.



It was bought for 12 shillings (the pair) as part of the Castellani collection of Italian Peasant Jewellery at the International Exhibition, Paris, 1867.
Bibliographic Reference
'Italian Jewellery as worn by the Peasants of Italy', Arundel Society, London, 1868, Plate 1
Collection
Accession Number
426-1868

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record createdOctober 31, 2008
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