Exceptional for their lavish detail and elegant gray-on-black coloration, these earrings are wonderfully dimensional, too. Notice how the lacy incised pattern of the carapace continues around all four sides of each chunky scarab. The silver metal overlays also wrap the earrings' tops. These are the torchlike lotus forms so typical of Egyptian design, here textured with tiny faux-marcasites and set with pretty faceted rhinestones (four per earring). The stones are obviously original, because their sparkle is far more subtle than today's glass.
For dating, the early clip backs suggest the end of the Art Deco era (circa 1935), but they could be older, since fasteners are easy to change. Whether from the late 1920s -- when discovery of Tut's tomb touched off a craze for all things Egyptian -- or the early 1930s, they're already antique by American 75-year standards. Their condition, as you see, is marvelous, with a surface that gleams both front and back.
Size is approximately 1 inch tall, .75 inch wide and .25 inch thick; provenance is a Pennsylvania estate; and the material is a sturdy plastic with good heft (Bakelite or similar, nothing flimsy). Black Bakelite often doesn't test positive, so I didn't want to risk this lovely finish by applying chemicals.
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