Pair of earrings

A pair of solid gold filigree Greek earrings. Small disks of the same material have been attached to the earrings at the union of the hoop with the circular hook and also on the body of the hoop.

Filigree was one of the kinds of metalwork most used in Ancient Greek jewellery. It is at the same time both a system of construction and decoration based on the use of threads of metal, of gold, silver, bronze or some other alloy. Each of the earrings in this case shows a metal thread with facets and moulding closely twisted around a central hoop wire. This also has facets but no moulding, and extends upwards to be suspended through the pierced ear.

Pieces of jewellery from ancient Greece are typically objects designed from an anthropocentric viewpoint, seeking beauty through perfection. So they are small, flexible and ergonomic, mainly designed to embellish the human body.

The technical complexity of these pieces is extreme. Highly elaborate, they are constructed from separate metal sheets and wires which are then pieced together mechanically and with solder. They are not produced through smelting, as might be supposed.

The technique of filigree, a decoration using wires which are soldered together, was highly developed in the Greek period. These are twisted and braided and then added to the jewellery as decoration. These wires are also used to separate areas to be enameled and used to form chains and flexible meshes.

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