Spool earring

Italic, Etruscan
Archaic Period
6th century B.C.


Length: 2.7 cm (1 1/16 in.) Weight: 5.4 gm (0.01 lb.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Anne and Blake Ireland Gallery (Gallery 210A)


Jewelry, The Ancient World


Earrings, flares, plugs, studs

An “a baule” or spool earring consists of sheet metal rounded at one end and rolled into a spool. A hook at one end of the earring either passed through the earlobe or a suspension hoop in the ear. The spool is divided into three sections of decoration: the upper, semi-circular portion that covered the ear lobe, a central square, richly-decorated section, and the lower third divided into three fluted sections.

The upper third is decorated with a palmette design executed in granulation and filigree. The central third is divided into nine squares, filled either with small hemispheres covered with granulation or a plain hemisphere topped with a central bead and surrounded by four smaller beads. In the bottom third, rows of large beads and beaded filigree wire form a border for the three parallel sections.


By date unknown: Prince Lucien Bonaparte Collection; by 1882: with Phillips Bros., 23 Cockspur Street, London; January 19, 1882: purchased by MFA from Phillips Bros. for $ 106.92 (the total price for MFA 82.26-82.28a-b)

Credit Line

General Funds