Spool earring

“A baule” or spool earrings consist of a band of sheet metal rounded at one end and rolled into a cylinder. A hook at one end of the earring either passed through the earlobe or a suspension hoop in the ear.

The upper zone of decoration, which covered the earlobe, is shaped like a pediment with a palmette drawn in beaded wire and terminating in spirals. Granules of many different sizes fill in space at the base of the palmette. A thin strip of sheet gold forms an undulating ribbon-like border between the two zones.

The main decorative zone is divided into eighteen squares, all separated by a ribbon border. The squares alternate between a hemisphere of plain sheet gold and one covered with granules, creating a pattern of matte/textured and polished/smooth surfaces. The sheet gold hemispheres are marked with a pyramid of three granules that form a central bead.

An embellished disk closes one end of the spool. The disk is decorated with a border of flat open circles (beaded filigree wire); beaded filigree is used to embellish the open area in the center.

The earring forms a pair with 03.765.

Provenance

By date unknown: with Edward Perry Warren (according to Warren's records: Bought in Rome. [with 03.765]); March 24, 1903: purchased by MFA from Edward Perry Warren

Credit Line

Francis Bartlett Donation of 1900

Spool earring

  • Italic, Etruscan, Late Archaic or Classical Period, early 5th century B.C.
Dimensions
Overall: 1.2 cm (1/2 in.) Overall (with 03.765): 4.31 gm (0.01 lb.)
Medium or Technique
Gold
Classification
Jewelry / Adornment
Catalogue Raisonné
Highlights: Classical Art (MFA), p. 142.
Accession Number
03.766
On view
Gems and Jewelry of the Ancient Mediterranean Gallery, Vance Wall Foundation - 210A

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