Roman, Imperial Period, ca. 1st to 3rd century CE. A stunning, very well-preserved pair of ancient Roman gold earrings comprised of 92.3% gold (equivalent to 22K+). Both earrings present elegant nude figures, one with a winged Cupid (Greek Eros) and the other with a nude figure who may be Cupid as well, though no wings are apparent. Both are delineated in repousse with an astonishing level of detail on their visages - delicate facial features, curly coiffures, and curvaceous bodies - as well as a round bezel at their upper ends. In addition, the hook and loop clasp still exhibits some movement. In the Roman period, Cupid had become a child whereas in earlier Greek times, he was often a muscular youth. This said, he still retained his mischievous air, ready to help couples fall in love through not-entirely-innocent interventions. Size: The slightly larger earring measures .875" H (2.2 cm); Weight: 3.8 grams. Gold quality: 92.3% gold, equivalent to over 22 karat
Gold is a rare find from the Roman Empire. As the Empire expanded, they gained access to mineral sources that allowed them to make rich gold items. Iberia was the major source of gold for the Romans, and there is widescale evidence for Roman mining of the region. Gold was also mined in Gaul and Britain, and, in some rare instances, imported from as far afield as India. However, the amount of gold available to the Romans was relatively small, and gold items are indicative of great wealth.
Provenance: ex-private Dallas, Texas, USA collection, acquired via descent from parents who acquired them prior to 1958 in Athens, Greece where they were stationed as diplomats at the U.S. embassy
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Circular bezels present with indentations and do not contain inlays. Expected age wear to figural forms, but the repousse detailing is still strong. Slight bending to wire loops. The ancient clasping mechanism exhibits movement and could possibly be worn, but we would not recommend this. However, we would recommend taking them to a reputable jeweler to create a fitting for wearing. Details of both earrings are very well preserved and gold has developed a warm patina over the ages.