Pair of gold earrings with an Egyptian Atef crown set with stones and glass

Period: Hellenistic

Date: 3rd–2nd century B.C.

Culture: Greek

Medium: Gold with stone and glass

Dimensions: Overall: 5/8 x 2 3/4 in. (1.6 x 7 cm)

Classification: Gold and Silver

Credit Line: Gift of Christos G. Bastis, in honor of Philippe de Montebello, 1995

Accession Number: 1995.539.11a, b


During the Ptolemaic reign of Egypt (323–31 B.C.), Egyptian motifs were fashionable in Greek jewelry and sometimes were reproduced faithfully or more freely adapted as in these fine earrings. The upper element, embodying the hook, features an Egyptianizing crown composed of a sun-disk in a translucent stone surmounted by twin feathers rendered with opaque black and white glass. All settings are trimmed with gold beading. Satellite glass beads (red and white on one earring, red and green on the other) are wired below. A triangular sheet ornamented with granules partially conceals the hinge holding the pendant.
Beneath the crown is a heart-shaped pendant with a red stone in the center, bordered by a band of black and white glass arranged in a sawtooth design and set in gold cloisons edged with beading. Two glass beads are wired below, while a third (now missing) was secured between reel- and cone-shaped moldings at the bottom. Gold sheeting backs all the settings.