Dance with me

Graceful Lagestone Cameo in Gold as Pendant & Brooch, c. 1900 & later

Jewellery with figurative representations has become rare today. In earlier epochs, however, it was the rule that ornate pieces of jewellery should also tell their own story. In the Renaissance, holy knights fought with dragons on ladies' bosoms; in the Rococo, gallant shepherds held their shepherd's pranks on the ear jewellery of salonnières. In the 19th century it was especially gem jewellery that was not only to delight with its material and brilliance, but also to announce the education of its wearer through its depictions and to stimulate witty conversation. The present pendant is such a piece, depicting a figure of classical antiquity with a finely cut lagestone cameo. The stone carving, set as an oval, shows a lady with a flowing robe dancing, holding a tambourine in her hand. It is one of the nine daughters of Zeus that we see here, more specifically the muse Terpsichore. She is said to have invented dancing first and after other arts also the sciences. The lively formal language of the depiction reveals the influence of Art Nouveau and helps us to date the gem to the years of the turn of the last century. In more recent times, the gem has been given an elaborate gold setting, which can be worn both as a pendant and as a brooch by means of a large loop and a pin. With its filigree decorative elements it takes reference from Cannetille works of the early 19th century. The result is a wonderful piece of jewellery for art-loving ladies - and those who simply love to dance.

To possess antique cameos and gems was the claim of almost all great collections for centuries: We find spectacular pieces as well in the Green Vault in Dresden, in the treasury of Rudolf II, up to the great private collections like that of Baron Stosch in later times. The 18th and 19th centuries produced numerous large imprint collections of antique seal stones and gems, which represent the antique imagery of glyptic almost in its entirety. Thus they were not least an expression of a humanistic education. Of particular importance for the transmission of stone and shell carvings north of the Alps have always been travellers to Italy, who brought home impressions and carved stones as well as engraved shells from their educational journeys in order to enjoy the stories that the shells could tell. The art of gem cutting has survived to this day in Italy, especially in the Bay of Naples, where it has been passed down from generation to generation. Today, the Scuola dei Cammei in Torre del Greco is the only professional training centre in the world for gem-cutters, although unfortunately the mythological theme has almost been lost as a subject.

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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.


We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.

If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.