A Memoir on the Jewellery of the Ancients – Augusto Castellani



A new approach of elaboration of the compositional data carried out by using X ray energy dispersion system (EDS) trough cluster analysis method, has been applied to the study of two pairs of earrings “a bauletto” from Castellani Collection in exposition at the Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia of Roma. The study allowed to identify the differences between the Etruscan original parts and the Castellani goldsmiths reworking.


The first pair of earrings N. Inv. 85019 (Fig. 1), is included in the part of collection called “modern jewellery”, while the other one, N. Inv. 53580 e 53582 (Fig. 2) come from the group of “archaeological jewellery” [1]. The uniqueness of the items and their intrinsic value, owing either to the precious material either to the historical and artistic content, constrains the choice of an archaeometric investigation necessarily projected with not destructive methods.

The exceptional importance of the jewels, induces to arrange new inedited methodological approaches connected to the possibility to individuate reshuffle of Castellani goldsmiths on the Etruscan objects. For the above reasons the study takes into account the dialectic ratio at the base of the goldsmith production Castellani.

To visualize the structural differences on micro/nano scale between the “hand” of Castellani goldsmith and that of the Etruscan craftsman, an innovative imaging approaches has been experimented. Different granulation reference samples realized in experimental archaeology by changing the soldering procedures, have been virtually reconstructed in 3D vision. With this method also he smallest variation of the metal structure can been evidenced allowing to distinguish the original parts from the restored ones.