It’s not uncommon to hear a certain style of nineteenth-century jewelry referred to as “Etruscan Revival.” But who were the Etruscans, and why was their jewelry being revived?
The Etruscans were an ancient people whose civilization flourished on the western coast of Italy from approximately 700 – 300 BC. Wealthy Etruscans were buried in massive tombs, along with their jewelry and other earthly possessions. Just like ancient Egypt, but with less mummies. In the nineteenth century, a series of Etruscan tombs were opened, and the beautiful gold-work found within captured the imagination of the Victorian public.
Here are some of the ancient Etruscan jewels that were found:
Many nineteenth-century jewelers, the most famous being the House of Castellani, were inspired to create their own versions of these ancient pieces, hence “Etruscan Revival.” Characteristics of Etruscan style jewelry include use of high karat gold and semi-precious stones like lapis, malachite and agates, and most distinguishingly, the use of intricate filigree and granulation.
Below are some Etruscan Revival pieces from our collection. The all date c.1870s.
Jewels inspired by the ancients: always a good decision.