Ancient Athena's Owl Coin Earrings with Roman Glass Beads
Athena is the Greek Goddess of war, wisdom, courage, justice, strength, strategy, and the arts. She is often symbolized by the owl. While one side of these ancient coins showed Athena, I wanted to replicate the Owl side.
The reverse of the coins depict the owl of Athena with the inscription AΘE, an abbreviation of AΘΗNAΙΩΝ (the Athenians). In daily use Athenian drachmas were called glaukes (owls). The owl has traditionally been associated with wisdom because of its ability to see in the dark, where others may not be able to see.
The quantity of silver controlled by the Athenians allowed them to mint the authoritative coinage of ancient Greece, the thick and heavy Athenian owl tetradrachm, which remains the most recognizable ancient coin today. This coin was the largest silver coin of its time, and it popularized the use of a coin’s obverse as the “head” and the reverse as the animal’s “tail”.
Roman glass is the result of a stunning piece of historic craftsmanship dating back 2,700 years to the time of the Roman Empire. Before then, glass was available only to the wealthy and was manufactured by core forming, casting, cutting and grinding. With the invention of the glass blowing around 50 BC, glass instantly became available to the less wealthy public. The Roman glass industry rapidly developed over a couple of generations during the first half of the first century A.D. Glass vessels became commonplace throughout the empire and were exported to places as far away as Scandinavia and the Far East. The people of the Roman Empire used more glass than any other ancient civilization.
The same sands used to make the glass helped preserve it through the centuries, shaping and molding it into the beautiful pieces excavated today. Two thousand years of burial in minerals and soil combined with wind and weather has resulted in pigmented deposits on the surface of the glass. Through oxidation, the pigment has developed into beautiful patinas of blues and greens, although other rarer colors can still be found.
Oxidized Brass medallions are 7/8" wide x 3/4" tall and are suspended with 3 ancient Roman Glass beads from Sterling Silver earwires.