Lust for life

Elegant demi-parure of brooch and earrings with onyx cameos in gold, circa 1860


€ 2,790.00 *
Content 1 piece
Unit price €2,790.00 / piece
Incl. VAT, Shipping
Description
This set of earrings and brooch in black and white onyx was made in London in the years around 1860, as its hallmark reveals. The artfully cut cameos are set in 18-karat yellow gold, which is polished without frills and set as simple frames around the cameos. The set, a so-called "demi parure" has been preserved in an antique case of leather, velvet and silk, it found its way to us in the south of England. In these detailed reliefs, the black and white hardstone is cut in such a way that in ethereal white three figures are beautifully displayed. We see on the brooch the goddess Hera, the patroness of the family. She is depicted in antique garb in profile. Her headdress, a diadem, identifies her as the wife of the supreme god Zeus. The two smaller figures are maenads, as the ivy foliage in a cameo suggests. The maenads accompanied the cult processions of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and pleasures. They played instruments, sang and danced. The set thus resurrects figures from the world of classical antiquity and turns them into jewellery that is much more than decorative accessories. (See also: "Learn more"). With jewellery like this, the wearer of the 19th century proved to be educated and well-read, and the choice of the figures depicted here could certainly be understood in terms of content in those times: With the choice of Hera as the main motif, this set was probably worn by a mother who, despite her family duties, did not forget the pleasures of life - this is revealed by the small maenads of the earrings. A wonderful set in a gorgeous case. Stylish and simply beautiful to look at.
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The pictorial world of antiquity, the painting of the "ancients," as Goethe called them, was still unknown to the people of the Renaissance. Buildings were excavated and eagerly studied. Coins were found and their likenesses drawn. But real pictures, paintings or frescoes of classical antiquity only came to light with the excavations in Pompeii and Herculaneum in the course of the 18th century. What had previously been mere speculation now set the artists of Europe in an uproar. Being able to marvel at authentic works that were thousands of years old: This drastic experience influenced entire generations and the style and content of painting well into the 19th century. Some of the most important artists of classicism, Canova, Thorvaldsen and also Piranesi, studied and copied not only the already known sculptures in Rome and Naples, but also and especially the frescoes excavated at the foot of Vesuvius or their reproductions in copper engraving. Their works quickly found their way into the medium of jewellery, or more precisely, the medium of the cameo. For the cameo cutters of southern Italy were always on the lookout for new and interesting models to serve the ever-changing tastes of their clientele.
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Size & Details
Lust for life
€ 2,790.00 *
Content 1 piece
Unit price €2,790.00 / piece
Incl. VAT, Shipping
Our Promise

Our Promise

We want you to be 100% satisfied! For that reason, we examine, describe and photograph all of our jewellery with the utmost care.

You can rely on our years of experience in the trade and our expertise as a professional art historians for reviews of the antique jewellery. As a member of various trader organisations and the British Society of Jewellery Historians, we remain committed to the highest possible degree of accuracy. In our descriptions, we always also indicate any signs of age and defects and never hide them in our photos — this saves you from any unpleasant surprises when your package arrives.

Should you for some reason not be satisfied, please don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can begin to find a solution together. In any case, you can return any article within 30 days and we will refund the full purchase price.