Etruscan "Bulla" Pendant Necklace - National Geographic Magazine, Jan. 2005
Little is known about the Etruscan civilization, which dominated the north of what is now Italy from about 700 B.C.E. until about 300 B.C.E. It is known that they had a language not related to that of the Italic tribes. Etruscan kings ruled in Rome and other Italian city states and had extensive trade routes by land and sea. Their arts flourished, most notably the outstanding goldsmithing which featured elaborate granulation and filigree.
Unfortunately, little survives of their history, as the Romans and the Christians who followed them both appear to have waged deliberate campaigns to destroy Etruscan literature and eradicate Etruscan artworks. Many believe that the Etruscan goldsmiths learned the basic technique of granulation from the Phoenicians, but all agree that the Etruscans took this technique to new heights of excellence and delicacy through extreme miniaturization. Granulation refers to the side by side application of tiny beads of gold. Twisted, or "corded" gold wirework was also applied to jewels in the Etruscan style. To this day, modern jewelers have been unable to duplicate the skill and precision of these ancient craftsmen.
There is a major collection of the gold of the Etruscans at the Museo Nazionale the Villa Giula, in Rome.
Now the long-running controversy about the origins of the Etruscan people appears to be very close to being settled once and for all. In 2007, an announcement was made that there is overwhelming evidence that the Etruscans, whose brilliant civilization flourished 3000 years ago in what is now Tuscany, were settlers from old Anatolia (now in southern Turkey).
The European Human Genetic Conference in Nice was told the results of a study carried out in three parts of Tuscany the Casentino valley, and two towns, Volterra and Murlo where important finds have been made of Etruscan remains. In each area, researchers took DNA samples from men with surnames unique to the district and whose families had lived there for at least three generations. "One particular genetic variant, found in the samples from Murlo, was shared only with people from Anatolia in western Turkey (Izmir), not far from the site of Schliemann’s Troy.