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Gold Earrings (Souri)

Tamil Nadu, India
early 20th century

diameter: 2.3cm, combined wight: 18.04g



Collection of (the late) Paul Walter, New York. Probably acquired by Walter in the UK.

The loop of each of these gold earrings is thick and made of finely-braided flexible gold wire. A single screw lock mechanism allows the earring to be opened and closed. This mechanism is decorated with applied gold spheres and square and circular gold plaques.

This form of gold earring was popular in the area of the temple town Madurai, and often they were worn in multiples (ie several or more) in a distended ear lobe.

Related examples are illustrated in Ganguly (2007, p. 242).

The pair here are complete. They do have wear – the thread of the tiny screw of one is worn, as is the finial to one of the screws. Each is impressed with an indistinct maker’s or assay mark.


Bala Krishnan, U.R., & M.S. Kumar, Dance of the Peacock: Jewellery Traditions of India, India Book House Ltd, 1999.

Ganguly, W., Earrings: Ornamental Identity and Beauty in India, B.R. Publishing Corporation, 2007.

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