DescriptionThe Metropolitan Museum’s lovely Coin Pearl Earrings are based on a pair of beautiful gold earrings from Episkopi (a city on the southern coast of Cyprus) in The British Museum. These original earrings are set with a glass seal showing a helmeted head. Lavish jewelry became more common during the imperial period (after 27 B.C.). Goldsmiths combined Etruscan and Hellenistic styles and techniques with new Roman decorative themes.
Produced in cooperation with the British Museum, London.
Sterling silver with 24K gold overlay, with cultured freshwater pearls. 1''L. Pierced, with gold-filled wires.
- Sterling silver with 24K gold overlay
- Cultured freshwater pearls
- Gold-filled wires
Art HistoryDuring the austere period of the Roman Republic, jewelry was considered a luxury and a sign of ostentation and was therefore officially discouraged; sumptuary laws limited the amount of gold jewelry that a Roman woman could wear. Little jewelry survives from the Republic. In the imperial period (after 27 B.C.), however, the wearing of lavish jewelry became acceptable. Pliny the Elder wrote that Lollia Paulina, wife of Emperor Caligula (ruled A.D. 37–41), frequently wore emeralds and pearl jewelry in her hair and on her ears, neck, arms, and fingers. To satisfy this new love of adornment, many goldsmiths migrated from established jewelry-making cities, such as Alexandria and Antioch, to work in Rome.