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Currently shown

Earring

Location

TURKEY

Era

Roman Empire (27 B.C.E.-476 C.E.)

Title

Earring

Date

3rd c. C.E.

Materials

Gold, emeralds

Dimensions

4 x 1.9 x 1.4 cm

Credits

Gift in memory of David Ross and Anne-Marie Roigt Ross, from Ronald, Leslie, Eric, and Francine Ross, inv. 2014.267

Collection

Archeology and World Cultures

This earring consists of a main gold rosette with three dangling pendants holding emeralds. This particular style became popular in the Roman world and the eastern Mediterranean about the middle of the first century C.E., and remained fashionable until the fourth century C.E. The use of multiple coloured gemstones paired with the technique of opus interrasile (openwork) are both features that can be traced to the Near East. Jewellery was considered part of the daily Roman costume, although sometimes connected to frivolity and excess. During the Second Punic War, the lex Oppia came into effect; as legislation that obliged women to hand over any gold in their possession exceeding 14 grams to the state to help finance the war effort. Once the war ended, Roman women protested and successfully repealed the law, reintroducing luxurious jewellery into daily life for those who could afford it.

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