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This piece is called a fibula, and the fibula was a very common piece of adornment across cultures, in ancient times. Thousands of Etruscan, Greek and Roman examples are known, today, and they are of surprisingly diverse sizes, shapes, and metals. In terms of metals, bronze was the most common material, but gold was the most prestigious. Furthermore, while the smallest gold examples are approximately one centimeter in length, one of the largest examples found measures nearly 45!
Fibulae are the equivalent of our safety pins, today. They have the same simple corner spring, the same needle, and the same safety clasp that both holds and protects the needle and forms a completed loop for security, once closed. Because metals were expensive, in ancient times, having items made of metal said something about you - it said that you had money. Thus, these items were luxury items that were usually worn in order to announce one's status. In fact, archaeological evidence has shown that a person might wear several of these on the front of their clothing.
Though they look like safety pins, therefore, it should be understood that the fibulae were more like our brooches, today: ornamental, rather than purely functional.
Our characteristic bow fibula with duck ornamentation is based on a Villanovan example from Italy, dating to the 9th century BC.
"Atria" was an Etruscan town in what is now the Veneto region of Italy, near Venice, today. Situated near the sea, Atria became a huge trading center and emporium with the Greeks. It also served as the principal port town for the nearby large Etruscan town of Felsina, which is now Bologna. Atria, later called "Adria" during Roman times, may have give its name to the Adriatic Sea.
Overall size: 6 x 3.5 cm (length x height)
Available Precious Metals and Prices
925 Sterling Silver: $160
18 Karat Gold Over Sterling Silver: $280
14 Karat Gold: $600
18 Karat Gold: $900
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