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Gold “Basket” Earring

Byzantine, 6th century, made in Northern France (2.5 x 1.5 cm)

Opus interrasile was a technique used by goldsmiths to make elegant jewelry from the 200s through the 600s. Designs were traced onto sheets of gold; the background was punched with holes of various sizes to highlight the pattern; and fine details were then worked on the surface. The patterns formed by piercing the metal ground encouraged the play of light and shadow across an object’s surface.

Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art (17.192.97)