Italian Gold, Enamel & Pearl Earrings
Initially thought to have originated in the 1600s, new research has revealed that boat-shaped earrings date back far into antiquity. Examples have been unearthed from the 13th century BCE. The use of that shape re-emerged during the 17th century and, as in this pair of antique earrings, in the late 18th through the 19th century. Please refer to page 104 in "Jewellery Reference and Price Guide" by Michael Poynder for similar but earlier examples.
A boat shaped element of yellow gold has been ornamented by polychromatic enameled design forms. This creates a rather dramatic effect of highlights and contrasts. The main element of the earring is suspended with clusters of natural baroque pearls and verdant green glass ends and carries a wonderful gold squirrel as a surmount.
Measures 1-15/16 inches (4.7 cm) in length by 1-3/16 inches (3 cm) in width by ¼ of an inch (0.5 cm) deep. The pair weighs 8.7 grams. Hallmarked on top of ear wires; although both marks are unidentifiable, one appears to be an “II” and a delta or a triangle figure. In good condition; overall wear commensurate with age; some enamel loss to both earrings on front and reverse. Quite scarce, these are Italian in origin and most likely date to the late 18th or early 19th century.
Note: Ear wires are a tad thicker than modern ear wires but will fit through most ear piercings.