Spool earring

Italic, Etruscan
Late Archaic or Classical Period
early 5th century B.C.


Overall: 1.9 cm (3/4 in.) Overall (with 03.768): 11.07 gm (0.02 lb.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Anne and Blake Ireland Gallery (Gallery 210A)


Jewelry, The Ancient World


Earrings, flares, plugs, studs

“A baule” or spool earrings consist of a band of sheet metal rounded at one end and rolled into a cylinder. A hook (now missing) at one end of the earring would either have passed through the earlobe or a suspension hoop in the ear.
The semi-circular upper zone is decorated with a palmette in filigree, and twelve beads set along upper edge. Small perforations were punched at the top of four of the palmette petals.
An undulating, ribbon-like strip of sheet metal is used as a border to set off eighteen squares in the main decorative zone. Twelve of 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 five granules that form a central bead. The lower six squares, those not visible, are filled with plain sheet gold hemispheres only.
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.
This earring forms a pair with 03.768.


By date unknown: with Edward Perry Warren (according to Warren's records: Bought in Rome. [with 03.768]); March 24, 1903: purchased by MFA from Edward Perry Warren

Credit Line

Francis Bartlett Donation of 1900