Most of us know the discovery of King Tut's tomb in the 1920s led to a craze for Egyptian-styled jewelry. Fewer are aware there were earlier Egyptian crazes: circa 1800, inspired by Napoleon's campaign in North Africa, and again in Victorian times, beginning with the 1860s opening of the Suez Canal. Furthermore, when Tut's treasures toured the world once more in the 1970s, it was "deja vu all over again." Because of this, you always have to look very carefully at jewels with an Egyptian motif, to determine when they were made.
These stunning gilt brass earrings are most likely from the 1920s, based on the depth of the patina, the extent of surface wear, the punchy Deco colors and of course the portrait of King Tut. The ear wires are obviously newish and the drops would have hung from screw fasteners originally. Very little wear is apparent to the naked eye -- they look absolutely fantastic -- but, under high magnification, minute losses of enamel and gilding can be found, more than you'd expect if they were recent.
Crafted on a very grand scale, these beauties measure a whopping two inches round and are highly dimensional. I've never seen a pair at all like them, so they're really quite special. Provenance is an East Coast estate.
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