Etruscan Jewellery

Etruscan Jewellery

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The Craft of the Etruscan Goldsmith

Etruscan Goldsmiths of the Archaic and Classical periods (600-300 BCE) maintained the skill and techniques used during the Orientalising period, but produced much less flamboyant jewellery. (The Regolini Galassi fibula is an example of Orientalising period jewellery). Etruscan jewellery of the 3rd to 1st Centuries was often indistinguishable from Greek works. The Eruscans were also influenced by their interaction with the Celtic world, and torcs were also found, particularly in Northern centres.A uniquely Italian form of jewellery persisted into Roman times, This was the hollow, usually round pendant known as the bulla, worn as an amulet. Around 550 BC, carved gemstones were reaching the Etruscans. Soon afterwards, Greek engravers began to work in Etruria and to engrave semi precious stones such as onyx and carnelian.The carving of gems reached its highest achievement during the classical period, but did not continue into the 3rd Century. Such engraved stones were used as jewellery in Etruria, and not as personal seals.

It is interesting to note that certain themes of Greek Mythology are often portrayed on Etruscan rings with a totally different interpretation from the Greek norm. Given that there are few examples of native Etruscan mythology shown on these rings, some workers have concluded that the Etruscans may not have always understood the original mythology. There is an example at the Beasley Archive which depicts the mission of Achilles at Troy, copying a typical Greek composition found elsewhere, however the captions are those of the main characters in the 'Seven against Thebes' play by Aeschylus. This was a very popular theme in Etruria.

Examples of Etruscan Jewellery

Most pictures from the British Museum

Regolini Galassi Fibula

Gold fibula

Bernadini Fibula

Bologna Fibula


Gold Wreath

Silverware (gilded)


Large Earrings

Bullae & Necklace

Large Earring

Carved Carnelian
Click on picture for a magnified version (opens in separate window)


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