A Pair of Rare Archaeological Style Earrings by Castellani

Rome, c.1880


comprising of a pair of stylised gold flower heads with fourteen petals, recessed within a circular gold border with a beaded wirework frame, each suspending a gold siren with characteristic claws, feathered legs and wings, the feathers of the wings picked out with wirework, suspended from gold wires which mimic the antique style.

Gold hook to the reverse for pierced ears, attached via a decorative serpent tale fitting.

Each earring signed with conjoined Cs for Castellani

Length: 4.4cm

A near identical earring is reproduced in a lithograph entitled ‘Necklace and earrings by A Castellani of Rome‘ in ‘L’Esposizione italiana del 1884′ in Torino (Milano, Edoardo Sonzogno, 1884). It illustrates the variant without the kithara.


A similar pair of earrings by Castellani is illustrated on page 268 of ‘Castellani and Italian Archaeological Jewelry’ (Soros and Walker, 2005). These are in the collection of the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution, New York (Object ID: 18210623).

Soros and Walker also illustrate an ancient Siren earring dating to 330-300 BC from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Accession No.: 08.258.49), which clearly shows the derivation of the design from the ancient world.


A vitrine of gold jewellery in the archaeological taste by Castellani, photographed in his shop at Piazza Fontana di Trevi 86 in Rome. Comparable earrings can be seen on the left hand side of the display.