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December 7, 2020


An Etruscan jewel made me reflect on the concept of eternity and how we relate to the most precious objects we have.

Etruscan artifacts show us how skilled goldsmiths were at the time, able to use a wide variety of techniques and tools, wisely chosen from: embossing, printing, engraving and filigree techniques based on the desired decorative effect.

The most common jewels were buckles, brooches, bracelets, rings and necklaces but also defense items such as daggers, shields and swords.

Gold fibula completely decorated with granulation, 7th century BCE, Cerveteri, from the Regolini-Galassi tomb, Gregorian Etruscan Museum of the Vatican
Cluster earrings from Vulci 350 BC

It is impressive to look closely at a jewel that is over two thousand years old but is so elaborate that it dwarfs the most skilled contemporary artisans.

I felt this feeling some time ago: it was Saturday, a gray day, a bit humid, of those in which if you don't give a move you end up spending hours motionless on the sofa, so I decided to take refuge in the Archaeological Museum of Florence and it was there that I came across the Corsini Fibula: decorated with the granulation technique in silver and laminated gold it was there, so beautiful, at the same time so ancient and so modern. Beautiful.

Corsini fibula, 7th century BC National Archaeological Museum of Florence

The Corsini Fibula is of a beauty that leaves you speechless, small ducks and lions are sculpted along the arch and on the scabbard and is completely decorated with motifs formed of tiny gold spheres.

The granulation technique used in this product consists in the welding of small golden spheres or grains to a base generally of foil, following predetermined motifs or designs.

While I was looking at it, this question rang in my head: how much effort will it have cost the goldsmith how much sweat will he have poured on those tiny gold balls? A lot I guess.

The brooch comes from a funeral kit and was found in the necropolis of Banditella in Marsiliana d’Albenga buried near the remains of a war chariot and bronze vases and this indicates that it certainly belonged to a high-ranking figure of the Etruscan aristocracy.

The Fibula belongs to the kind of jewelry that was used by the rich to fasten clothes to the waist or close a cloak worn over the shoulder and was a real symbol of power and wealth.

It fascinates me to think that these objects, jewels, were considered eternally linked to a person even beyond death and this is the reason why they have come down to us and now we can admire them in all their splendor.

Somehow they are what remains of the people who owned them and tell us something about them.

Here, now every time I look at my favorite ring or that bracelet they gave me I find myself thinking “well, you will live longer than me” and you will tell a piece of my story.

Unfortunately, even today jewels have been dragged into the logic of fashion and have progressively lost that aura of mystery linked to the concept of eternity.

So I ask myself: maybe we should learn or rather re-learn from our ancestors and look with different eyes at the most precious objects that belong to us and that one day when we are no longer there they will still be able to tell something about us?


Speaking of jewelry, we invite you to look at the fragments collection of Microfficina: small jewels that are never dull, unique and refined pieces, a gift idea for an occasion to remember.

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