Etruscan Jewellery

by Sarah Corbett

The Etruscan people were a sophisticated, luxury loving people who lived in Northern Italy 800 – 400 BC. They were astute traders, and had great wealth.

Wealthy Etruscans built them selves dwellings for the afterlife. These dwellings were very similar to those which they had inhabited in life.Whole villages and towns of these tombs were built, and then buried once occupied. Buried along with the deceased were useful and valuable items including jewellery. These rich Burial chambers have provided us with wonderful examples of adornments from this decadent age, along with wonderful statues and frescoes of the deceased which show us the ways in which the jewels were worn.

Some of the most elaborate Etruscan jewels date from ‘Orientalizing period’ (7th century BC). During this period the technique of granulation became popular throughout the ancient world, and can be seen to great effect within Etruscan pieces. The Syro- Phoenicians brought the techniques of gold granulation and filigree to southern Etruria.

A wide range of jewel types were utilised men and women wore finger rings, often set with gemstones or scarabs.

The Gemstones for these rings were traded from the Phoenecians

Etruscans also loves Amber which they imported from the Baltic.

Women wore Pendants called Bulla, these were often adorned with mythical figures, and was a style which was adopted by the Romans, who used them as protective amulets for young boys.

During the late Etruscan period 4th Century BC the styles of jewellery became less detailed and simpler in form. Enamel and beads from Phoenecia were used frequently.

Many beautiful Etruscan pieces survive.

There was a European fashion during the late 1850’s for Etruscan revival jewels.


More articles