History of the Etruscan Jewel

After seeing in the first chapter the Egyptian Jewel, this week we continue with the History of jewelry. This second chapter is dedicated to the Etruscan Jewel.

Etruscan jewels

The Etruscan world, originating in Asia Minor, was contemporary with Greek culture between the 8th and 3rd centuries BC. by C.

It covered the regions between the Tiber and Arno rivers (present-day Laccio and Tuscany regions) on the Italian peninsula. Both civilizations influenced what was later the Roman culture.

The Etruscan Jewel

Thanks to the discoveries made in the unearthed tombs, we can say that in Italy the first to work with gold were the Etruscans.

The Etruscan jewel is characterized by its large size. Its decoration sought the representation of the volume, using techniques such as engraving or stamping. The most common dies for the stamping technique were human figures, plant forms and motifs from the animal world, influenced by Egyptian and Mesopotamian culture. Geometric shapes, meanders, various angles and symmetry were also used very frequently. With these motifs different compositions were made combined with vegetal elements; which were later assembled and set into pieces such as bracelets, necklaces, pectorals, etc.

Etruscan bracelets

Other techniques used by the Etruscans with great skill were filigree and embossing, with which they made pieces with a great sense of design.

And his great contribution was a technique that consisted of welding small gold balls forming geometric motifs.

According to Pijoán, José. (1994) [1] . » This method of filling the field of a jewel with small gold spheres forming drawings is of unsurpassed grace. The balls are almost touching; they seem to slide on the gold of the jewel; they have more … We do not know exactly how it was possible to weld the balls on the metal surface. We believe that gold was filled with arsenic salts, forming pearls, and that when entering the fire the salts evaporated, producing, however, flux to weld the gold balls as drops to the jewel plate. The result is a dark chlorine-rich line pattern, not uniformly light or uniformly dark; the regular spots of the pearls have a point of light and a point of shadow that alternate along the lines that decorate the jewel ”. As an example of this technique we can see.

[1] Pijoán, José. (1994). Roman, Etruscan and Hellenistic Art.” Summa Artis, Editorial Espasa Calpe. Pages 108,109

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