For wine lovers

Antique Gem of Ariadne as Brooch & Pendant, 1920s

In Greek mythology, Ariadne was the daughter of Minos, king of Crete - and madly in love with the Athenian king's son Theseus. But Theseus abandoned her on the island of Naxos, where Dionysus, god of wine, found the sleeping woman instead and fell in love with her. Thus it came to pass that Ariadne became his wife and later moved into Olympus beside him. As the wife of Dionysus, Ariadne is recognizable by her adornment of vine leaves, tendrils, and grapes that wind around her head. A flowing, transparent robe hugs her shoulders. The portrait was cut in shell so that it stands out white against the rosy ground. As early as the 19th century, similar images were cut into shells as gems in the Bay of Naples, where they were purchased by travellers as souvenirs; the tradition then continued in the 20th century. Although stylistically the jewel still represents the Belle Époque, the way the ball clasp is made reveals that the gem must have been set somewhat later, probably in the 1920s. A not inappropriate time to wear the wine god's wife on one's coat or décolleté - after all, the years of the Weimar Republic were known for their lively nightlife. Thanks to a fold-out eyelet, the gem can be worn both as a pendant and as a brooch.

Italy has been the longing destination of all inhabitants of the cold north for centuries. Its Mediterranean landscape and diverse art treasures also made the country the highlight of every Grand Tour. On this so-called cavalier tour, young aristocrats and later also wealthy citizens travelled to various countries in order to perfect their education, which was an indispensable ticket to the highest social classes. Since the 18th century, it was mainly the English, who had come to great wealth through their extensive colonial empire, who set out on the still arduous journey to the south. The region around the Gulf of Naples was a fixed point on the programme. Especially the ancient ruined cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum fascinated the travellers with their direct insight into ancient Roman everyday life and left a lasting impression on their taste. As a souvenir of such a stay at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, gems with mythological motifs were particularly popular, as the region of Naples was the leading centre of gem carving. Carved in stone, shell or coral, the gems were acquired by the travellers and often only set in their homeland.

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.


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.