Characteristics of this hollow papyrus style ear stud show the quality of 18th Dynasty glassmaking as well as some of the rich colors available to the craftsmen. Of papyrus style, it comprises a body of translucent deep blue glass, with a thread of turquoise carefully marvered into the body and highlighted at the rim with a fine contrasting spiral coil of opaque white.
This piece was core-formed, whereby a clay or dung core is fashioned over a metal rod. Glass was probably trailed or pulled onto the core by means of a second tool, then marvered or smoothed on a flat surface. Trails of contrasting colors were wound onto the small piece and marvered smooth. The finished stud was removed from the rod, annealed, then the core was scraped out. The piece was now ready to wear.
These very colorful glass objects are frequently found in New Kingdom contexts, with a large number coming from Amarna and depicted on tomb scenes and mummy cartonnage.
Dimensions: Length: 1 1/8 inches (2.9 cm)
Condition: Loss to the rim, otherwise intact and in very good condition overall
Provenance: The John J. Slocum (1914-1997) collection, acquired while serving as US cultural attaché to Egypt in the 1960s. Slocum later served as Assistant to the Director of The Smithsonian, was appointed by President Reagan to the Presidential Cultural Property Advisory Committee, and was a Trustee Emeritus of the Archaeological Institute of America. He was a well-respected scholar/collector, whose medieval crusader coins were sold in a single-owner sale at Sotheby’s, London in 1997.