Friday, November 21, 2008


Emeralds and pearls and gold, oh my!

This earring was recently unearthed beneath a parking lot near the ancient city of Jerusalem.   Although it was found in the ruin of a 4th-5th century Byzantine building (beneath the 21st century parking lot), the earring was much older, perhaps as much as 200 years older.  I love the thought of someone owning these beauties and handing them down until some irresponsible teenager, who I think I'll call Theodora, lost one while hanging out with her friends at what passed for a mall during the Byzantine era.  I'll bet she caught hell from her Mom when she got home.  My friend Cindi and I were sitting yesterday thinking about how the earring really got there.   Did she just lose track of it, did she give it to her lover who was going off to battle, or was it stolen from her by some jealous "friend"?  It's fun to think about how it got lost and what this woman might have been like.   What do you guys think?  I'd love to hear your story of how it got there!
Aside from my fantasy of how Theodora lost her earring, I am fascinated by it as a piece of historical decorative art.  I'm amazed by what it tells us about life back then.  For it's own sake, it's a really lovely thing.  I don't know about all of you, but I know I'd wear it.  This small, precious thing tells us some things about the owner that aren't lost to history.   She lived in an area that's been perpetually inhabited for at least 3000 years.  The city she lived in was already ancient at the time she lost her earring.  Imagine!  She was really wealthy and of high social status.  Like today, people who had to scrape to make ends meet simply didn't have money for luxuries like this.  I think all of us who earn our livings making and selling jewelry know that's true, especially in this economy!  I like thinking about the person who made these earrings too.  The methods that he used are really similar to our modern methods of construction.  It's an unexpected thing to feel a kinship with a metal smith that lived 2000 years ago.  Could one of you guys out there who own a pair of my earrings arrange to lose one so it can be found 2000 years from now?  I think it would be cool to be some one's mystery in 4008!  
To read more about Theodora's earring, click here.


Anne E. Mitchell said...

how cool is that! I would wear it as well.

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