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Etruscan Jewelry

Biography: The Etruscan civilization, now located in Tuscany, was the highest in Italy before the rise of Rome. There are three theories to explain the “obscure origin of the Etruscans. ” First, their culture and language was very different than other ancient peoples in Italy. Because of this, many historians believed Herodotus, an ancient writer and reporter, that the Etruscans migrated to Italy from Lydia in the 12th century B. C. to escape a severe famine. Second, people have agreed that they are an ancient people native to Italy, whose customs are simply different.

The third theory is that the Etruscans migrated “from the north through the Alpine passes,” but this theory was discredited. Regardless of their questionable origin, it is clear that a distinctive Etruscan culture evolved around the 8th century B. C. developed rapidly, then declined during the 5th and 4th centuries. I chose the topic of Etruscan jewelry because of their innovative techniques of granulation and filigree, and because of the mystery of they’re origin. . Another major reason was because Etruscans art designs and jewelry continued to be successfully excavated, with incredible finds.

I have separated the paper into specific Etruscan era’s giving a brief overview of each and an expose of the jewelry industry during the specific era’s (answers. com). 2 Etruscan’s used two specific techniques to create their jewelry. The first called granulation the second filigree. Granulation is the process of using incredibly tiny granules (0. 14 mm as opposed to 2mm grains used by Sumerians, and 0. 25 used by the Greek). Some Etruscan jewels appear to be “dusted with minute gold beads covering a substantial surface area or arranged in tidy patterns.

” The minuscule granules keep their own veracity; metal isn’t welled up around it, yet it is “fused security to the metal underneath. ” Be aware, we are talking about granules smaller than a half of grain of sand or smaller. What a challenging technique, a torch flame must be controlled to remain below puddling point of these grains. With today’s technology and equipment the granulation process is completely controllable. The second ancient technique used by the Etruscans is called filigree, like granulation it is still used today.

“Filigree is a group of individual lace-like inters wined wires of gold or silver, soldered together to forma pattern. ” It can also be combined with enamel. One of the necessary steps is the forming of the wire, by twisting two pieces of very small silver wires tightly together and then flattening them Sterling or fine grade silver wire can be used. The wire is wrought into an openwork design, with various motifs. (ganoskin. com. ).

The Etruscan Villanovan Period: Around the 9th century B. C. saw the beginning of “great wealth, social stratification, and a cultural explosion,” incited by the migrating Greeks. Much of the evidence from the early Villanovan Period was found in Etruscan tomb sites. As with any culture, most information is revealed from archeology ruins, and including, “basic social structures, art styles, wealth, and lifestyles. ” The Etruscans were no exception, and their necropolis (necropolis was a ‘sort of cemetery’ as a way of worshipping the dead). It provided a notable amount of information for archeologists.

During this period trade became a vital part of the territory, making it a lively and effected Etruscan society, but also dividing classes of people. The wealthy enjoyed the Greek style jewelry, with gold being a formidable trade. Unfortunately very little jewelry had remained for discovery. In Villanovan jewelry confirmed that Etruscans placed great effort in producing decorative arts, zig zag and triangles were a common pattern. Jewelry was, like today, a status symbol representing prosperity. The Villanovan period culminated a young Etruscan culture into a prominent society.

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