A beautiful pair of Roman earrings made from electrum and semi-precious stones. Composed of a large hoop for attachment to the ear, the earrings feature a central double arch pendant made from fine filigree work. They are attached to the hoop by two loop chains and a central attachment comprised of a glass oblong bead and a natural pearl. Further attachments hang from the central arch, again comprised of an oblong glass bead and two pearls, interspersed with filigree work. The central attachment features a large amethyst teardrop stone.
Pearls and amethysts were gemstones favoured by the Roman upper class. Teardrop pendants of the latter were used for earrings, necklaces and jewelled collars. The word amethyst comes from the Greek word amethystos, meaning sober. In ancient Greek and Roman culture, the amethyst gemstone was associated with the god of wine, Dionysus. Pliny classifies the mineral into five kinds, according to its colour, which ranged from a deep purple to nearly colourless. He also mentions some of its falsely ascribed attributes: that amethyst prevented drunkenness, protected against spells and warded off hail and locusts.
Date: Circa 2nd – 3rd century AD