Gold hair ornament
Period: 7th-6th century B.C.
Dimensions: Height: 2.5 cm, Length: 4.5 cm
Ex collection Sancey, Switzerland; collected in the 1950’s – 1960’s.
Here, a thick, solid gold wire, which is beaded and ribbed on the outside and plain on the inside, revolves two full turns. The ends of the spiral are splayed out, and each one supports an identical decorative finial that is composed of a base with beaded edging similar to that on the spiral; a wall formed of horizontally ribbed, domed elements with granules in the central elements, and a vertically ribbed, domed cover that also displays granulation in the center.
Gold ornaments in a spiral shape are well known throughout the history of Greek jewelry, appearing with either a strictly abstract decoration, as in this early example, or fitted with animal (and even female) heads. They are often interpreted as hair ornaments, as they usually do not have a device to fasten them to the earlobe. Representations on coins, however, prove that they were ear ornaments. There is a small, gold spiral in the Burton Y. Berry Collection,
COOK R.M. – DUPONT P., East Greek Pottery,
For related spiral earrings from Camirus and Ephesos in the
F. H. MARSHALL, Catalogue of the Jewellery, Greek, Etruscan, and Roman, in the Departments of Antiquities,
The finials of this spiral compare with the head of a pin from the Artemision in Ephesos, suggesting an eastern Greek origin in the sixth century B.C. For the spiral in the
W. RUDOLPH, A GOLDEN Legacy: Ancient Jewelry from the
For the pins from Ephesos, see
B. DEPPERT-LIPPITZ, Griechischer Goldschmuck (1985), p. 150, figs. 99f, 103.