A song for love

Three dimensional antique lava cameo of the years around 1870


€ 690.00 *
Content 1 piece
Incl. VAT, Shipping
Description
Cameos made of colored limestone were popular souvenirs of a trip to the south of Italy in the 19th century. The material was considered to be the "lava" of Mount Vesuvius and was a reminder of the sinking of Pompeii in 79 AD when the city sank under lava and ash from this volcano. The ruined cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, which sank and were miraculously rediscovered, were a fixed item on the itinerary of every Italian trip in the 19th century and offered a very direct impression of ancient Roman everyday life. Jewellery made from the material of these places could thus become a beautiful, perhaps also somewhat macabre souvenir. Jewellery of all qualities was created, from simple small brooches to large parures. That lava as souvenir jewellery was in no way considered inferior in the eyes of contemporaries is shown by the fact that pieces made of lava can also be found in the oeuvre of such famous goldsmiths as the Castellani. Lava from Mount Vesuvius, along with other materials, became the raw material for cameo work in the Naples area. For the highly specialized cameo cutters, who otherwise used coral or sea snail shells for carving, the soft limestone, which was available in many colors, was a wonderful starting material, since it could be carved so three-dimensionally and also allowed deep undercuts, as can be studied on the brooch here. A three-dimensional cameo of olive limestone shows a winged putto holding a lyre in his hands. A narrow cloth covers the shame of the otherwise naked creature, distinguished as a god of love by a small quiver to his right. Curly hair and a dreamy look suggest that the last verse of a love poem has just faded away, accompanied by the sounds of the instrument. The cameo was set in a simple frame of gilded brass in the years around 1870 and can be worn as a brooch ever since. It is a real pleasure to look at and takes you back to a distant and yet near past in the land where the lemons bloom.
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For centuries, the possession of antique cameos and gems was the claim of almost all great collections, from the Green Vault in Dresden to the treasury of Rudolf II and large private collections such as that of Baron Stosch in later times. The 18th and 19th centuries produced numerous large imprint collections of ancient Roman and Greek seal stones and gems, which were able to represent the ancient imagery of glyptic almost in its entirety. Due to the great travels undertaken by young nobles and wealthy citizens during this period, the use of gems and cameos changed in the early 19th century to larger forms of jewelry, which were classic and sought-after souvenirs from Italy, cut in stone, shell, or Vesuvius lava.
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Size & Details
A song for love
€ 690.00 *
Content 1 piece
Incl. VAT, Shipping
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Our Promise

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