Place of origin:
Rome, Italy (made)
500-300 BC (made) — scarabs
before 1925 (made) — bracelet
Castellani (bracelet, maker)
Materials and Techniques:
Gold decorated with applied wirework and granulation, mounted with four carnelian scarabs
M.35-2001 (V&A Museum, London)
This bracelet may have been in the Castellani firm’s stock for a number of years as the business was winding down in the 20th century.
Ancient beads, scarabs and engraved gemstones from excavations were an essential element of jewellery made in the archaeological style. Mounted in gold, they were densely set in necklaces, bracelets, brooches, earrings or rings.
Castellani, the leading jewellers in Rome, acquired ancient stones in great quantities from many sources. The scarcity of scarabs caused Augusto Castellani to comment in 1862 that their high price ‘impelled the moderns to counterfeit them. And they so perfected this trade that the most experienced eye can barely discover the deception’.