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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Coil Earring with Hanging Bead
Work Type
1st-5th century CE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World
Roman period
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Copper alloy
1.9 cm (3/4 in.)
Technical Details

Technical Observations: The patina is green and black. The piece does not seem to be complete. The end of the wire is broken off, and corrosion accretions distort the surface.

The wire was created by hammering, as indicated by its multiple facets and uneven thickness. It widens toward the outside of the spiral and was flattened and bent (probably around a tipped tool) to start the curve. The wire holding the bead is flattened and splayed at the ends to secure the bead, which is made of blue glass and has three white oval inlayed outlines.

Francesca G. Bewer (submitted 2002)


Recorded Ownership History
Formerly in the collection of the Peabody Museum of Harvard University, no. E-3674.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Transfer from the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University.
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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Published Catalogue Text: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums
This earring consists of a wire that has been wound into five coils, with the outermost coil separated from the inner coils to form the hoop (1). A blue glass bead (0.92 cm wide x 0.57 cm high) with three areas of white circles is attached to the hoop with a wire attachment similar to a cotter pin (2).


1. For a type of earring with a similar spiral section but without a bead, compare I. Stead and V. Rigby, Baldock: The excavation of a Roman and pre-Roman Settlement (London, 1986) 128-29, nos. 202-205, fig. 54; and C. Johns, The Jewellery of Roman Britain: Celtic and Classical Traditions (London, 1996) 134 (type 9).

2. For the style of bead, compare E. Riha, Der römische Schmuck aus Augst und Kaiseraugst, Forschungen in Augst 10 (Augst, 1990) 185-86, nos. 2793 and 2839, pls. 66 and 68.

Lisa Anderson

Subjects and Contexts

  • Ancient Bronzes

Verification Level

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