Etruscan civilization knew great differences in wealth and customs. The southern coastal area saw the rise of a trading elite able to afford great luxury. This is especially apparent from the manufacture of gold jewelry, with Etruscan artists copying eastern examples. Two techniques really stand out here: granulation and filigree. Filigree is a technique involving thin gold thread of sometimes only 0.2 mm thickness. It was applied to the ornament in all kinds of shapes. The threads were made by stretching gold after heating or by rolling out little strips of gold leaf. The granulation technique involves the application of small grains of gold onto an ornament.
Etruscan ornaments feature extremely small grains, at times having a diameter of no more than 0.14 mm. Tiny bits of gold,mixed with ashes and placed in a closed crucible, were heated up to the melting-point of around 1100 °C, causing them to become round granules. After cooling down, they were coated with liquid copper. Copper will melt sooner than gold, so that a second heating caused the granules to melt on to the ornament while retaining their round shape. In the South, the granulation technique was used to render outlines and details only. In the North, silhouettes were outlined, the whole figure then being filled up with the granules (pulviscolo-technique).


  • Title: Brooch
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: -0500/-0400
  • Location: onbekend, Italië?
  • Physical Dimensions: h5 cm
  • Datering: 500-400 v.C.
  • Afmetingen: diam. 5 cm
  • Type: brooch
  • External Link: Rijksmuseum van Oudheden
  • Medium: gold ; ruby

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps