This pair of ear plugs is of silver alloy decorated with overlaid gold which has been stamped with geometric motifs.
Ear plugs of this type were worn in Gujarat by Ahir, Rabari, Bharwad, and Mer women. Ganguly (2007, p. 71) says they were also worn in Kutch, who adds that they are ‘one of the most striking ear ornaments in all of India’. Their use had died out by the mid-20th century.
They were worn as plugs in large holes in stretched ear lobes.
A similar pair are illustrated in Hoek (2004, p. 138), Daalder (2009, p. 321), and an almost identical pair is illustrated in Untracht (1997, p. 222).
The pair here are particularly attractive with the use of gold and silver to provide a pleasing contrast. They have clear age and patina. There are no losses or repairs.
Daalder, T., Ethnic Jewellery and Adornment: Australia, Oceania, Asia, Africa, Ethnic Art Press/Macmillan, 2009.
Ganguly, W., Earrings: Ornamental Identity and Beauty in India, B.R. Publishing Corporation, 2007.
Hoek, C., et al, Ethnic Jewellery: From Africa, Asia and Pacific Islands, Pepin Press, 2004.
Untracht, O., Traditional Jewelry of India, Thames & Hudson, 1997.