Blame Cupid!

Antique Biedermeier lapel pin with armed Cupid as cameo, Rome circa 1830

The motif of this unusual cameo, which can be worn as a lapel or tie pin, has its origins in the world of Greek mythology. It is, as so often in beautiful stories, about love. We see a naked boy with a mischievous look. Slightly implied we see behind his right shoulder some arrows that seem to be in a quiver on his back. This attribute suggests and that he must be Cupid, the god of love, who, as the companion of Venus, the goddess of love, has the task of shooting arrows of love! His arrows have either golden tips or lead ones - and you never know which arrow the boy is shooting! Golden arrows kindle the fire of love and leaden arrowheads bring about equanimity. In the gem of conch shell here, however, the arrows are only to be seen as an attribute, as an identifying mark of the messenger of the gods in the background, just above his shoulder. So the mischievous little fellow does not yet shoot: but in his gaze we see that he can become a marksman at any time! The setting of the years around 1830 is forged from high quality gold and according to the stamping was made in the Papal States of that time. The shell cameo was probably cut in the environs of Naples before being brought to Rome and made into a piece of jewellery. A wonderful piece of jewellery from the Biedermeier years for the gentleman to whom you might want to confess your love?

For centuries, possessing antique cameos and gems was the claim of almost all great collections of decorative arts and cabinets of curiosities, from the Green Vault in Dresden to the treasury of Rudolf II to large private collections such as that of Baron von Stosch in later times. The 18th and 19th centuries produced numerous large imprint collections of antique sealstones and gems, which were able to represent the ancient imagery of the antique glyptic almost in its entirety, as they were also an expression of a humanistic education. Often figures of the Olympian heaven of gods or mythological scenes were the subject of the depictions. 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 cut 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 large-scale training centre for gem-cutters in Italy in the world, although unfortunately the mythological theme has been lost.

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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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