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California Midwinter International Exposition, through M.H. deYoung
Throughout time, gold's unique features of beauty, rarity, malleability, and durability have made it a precious material reserved for the most important and costly of objects. In addition, it possesses that almost magical property of being resistant to decay and tarnish. As a result, ancient examples, like this pin, have been preserved practically intact. This glorious Etruscan fibula, or safety pin, is decorated with elaborate patterns created by finely executed granulation, consisting of tiny gold balls soldered to the smooth gold surface. The raised granules reveal the degree of skill attained by the Etruscan goldsmith. This sophisticated metalworking technique, in which the balls are adhered without melting during the soldering, has been rediscovered only recently. Even today it is difficult to form granules this small. The design on this fibula is made in the form of interlocking meanders with zigzag patterns at the corners and edges.