Beautiful youth

Graceful shellgemme as brooch, Germany / Italy around 1940

The bas-relief depicting a young woman with her hair up and wearing a strap dress, which was cut into the shell of a sea shell by a gem cutter in the first half of the 20th century, has a dynamic effect. One is reminded of paintings from the years of Art Nouveau, in which the depiction of beautiful young women always had a symbolic effect, namely to be a source of inspiration for the artist and a symbol of beauty itself. The sitter appears seductive and self-confident. Is she even the ideal image of a new age? She seems free, unconstrained and prudently looks into the future. The brooch in which the cameo is set, however, does not quite date from the years of Symbolism, even if it clearly breathes its spirit. A small hallmark on the back allows us to date the piece quite accurately to the 1930s or early 1940s (See: Learn more). A plain frame of very lightly gilded silver holds the relief and four curved agraffes in all four cardinal directions form decorative elements set on a surrounding spiral band. The brooch came to us from the Rhineland. While the setting for the cameo was forged in Germany, it is reasonable to assume that the cameo itself was made in Italy, the centre of gem carving in Europe at the time.

The setting of the shell cameo bears the so-called "Laurin" mark, the letters "Ln" in ligature, in addition to the silver stamp. This mark was introduced in 1936 and was in use until 1945. The Laurin mark guaranteed the quality of the craftsmanship and the material used. It is named after a legendary figure, the dwarf king nanems Laurin, who is said to have been the guardian of the treasures of the Dolomites. In old advertisements we know the following sentence : "From the shaft of the magic mountains / Laurin, the lord of the dwarves / digs precious stones and jewels / For our adornment and feast for the eyes." See also our collection of some ' illustrations of the Laurin brand.

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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.

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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.

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