antique earring

Greco-Roman Gold Earrings with Garnet African Heads, 2nd Century BC-1st Century AD

The jewelry of the Hellenistic and early Roman periods is among the finest of the ancient world, unsurpassed in richness of subject matter and composition, luxurious media and exquisite attention to detail.

This type of African head pendant originates from Greece, from the third to second century BC. Images of Ethiopians and Nubians were popular in Egyptian art but were relatively rare in the Mediterranean world until the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great in the late fourth century BC suddenly exposed the Greeks to the peoples of the African continent. As part of this new and intriguing Nilotic landscape, images of Africans evoked the distant and exotic cultures at the edge of the known world. The popularity of Nilotic themes coupled with a Greek tradition in jewelry of elaborate figural pendants (for example, beads, acorns, vessels, and female heads) led to the depiction of Nubians and Ethiopians as part of the popular repertory of wearable art. Initially, heads were fashioned wholly in gold, but by the late third and early second century, semi-precious stones were incorporated into the composition, as here. Materials rich and warm in color, such as carnelian, sardonyx, amber, and garnet, were all transformed into African figures, not only rendering each piece more elaborate, but also imbuing them with a striking liveliness and depth of character.

The use of gemstones set into gold jewelry remained a popular practice in the early Roman period; precious stones were said to have held magical properties and were considered markers of high social status. Pendants and earrings in the form of African heads seem to have been particularly popular in Italy, with examples known from Bari and Ruvo.

A pair of gold earrings with the head of an African in garnet is in the collection of the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore (inv. no. 57.1562-3, circa third century BC), and a similar pair from Cyme, Turkey, is in the British Museum, London (inv. no. 1877,0910.28, circa fourth to third century BC). However, these examples are earlier, and lack the clarity of form and sharpness of carving evident in the present pair.

Please help me

Hey guys I absolutely hate playing the sympathy card but the only two pairs of shoes I own are in a complete state. They’re ripped, the heel is falling off one of them and there are holes in the bottoms of both pairs.. When they fall apart completely I’ll be walking barefoot. Me and my boyfriend can barely afford to eat on top of our rent and bills and his shoes are in the same state.

I’m not asking for money for nothing - I have a shop! All I’m asking is for a few reblogs just to get me and and my shop off the ground. It’d mean even more if you bought something! I’m now shipping worldwide and my work is super affordable too, just £5 for a gorgeous crystal necklace and they’re all handmade.

I wanted to add pictures of my shoes and my work but tumblr won’t let me :(
I make crystal jewellery mostly but I also have these awesome pairs of octupus earrings, a pretty simple copper ring and I’m currently working on a dream catcher to sell!

Please at least reblog, I’m really scared that we’re going to be walking barefoot soon. I’ll be more than happy to share your shop or work or reblog something of yours - I just really want this to get off the ground, I love my work and I love making it for people, it’d make me so happy if people showed an interest in my work and I’d finally be able to walk around without fear of my feet getting wet or my shoes falling apart.

My new industrial barbell. I’m in love. I put a faux opal in for the first time and my favorite pair of my grandmothers earrings. I wonder what she’d think if she saw my ear hahaha