Beauty of the ancient world

Antique Lagestone Cameo in Gold in Archaeological Style, circa 1880

Cutting cameos and gemstones in agate is a special art. In the 19th century this technique had been driven to mastery especially in the Hunsrück, in Idar Oberstein. The town of Idar was already famous in the 15th century because of its unusual agate deposits and talented stone cutters soon settled there, working for the treasuries of Europe. In the 19th century, gemstones and cameos from the small city of gemstones reached goldsmiths all over Europe. Here a young lady is looking to the left. Rich curls surround her head, an antique robe is thrown loosely around her shoulders and chest. Her chin is striking. Without any other attribute she is difficult to identify clearly. The beauty and elegance of her depiction, for example, allow the interpretation that she could be a goddess of antiquity. This interpretation is also supported by the framing of the cameo. For the frame, made of filigree gold, is designed in the style that was intended to emulate the art of antiquity as the "archaeological style". It also makes it possible to date the piece of jewellery, which can be worn as a brooch and as a pendant, to the years around 1880. The pendant loop is quite large, so that it can be worn on a textile strap - if the piece is to be worn as a brooch, the loop can simply be removed thanks to a hook on the back. A wonderfully high-quality piece of historicist jewellery that has found its way to us from London.

The technical and scientific development of Europe had made historical science the leading discipline in the 19th century. New excavations opened up hitherto unknown epochs of European history, and the early days of civilizations in particular experienced a hitherto unknown interest. In Italy, the Etruscans in particular were explored and the ancient Tuscan people were rediscovered, as it were. Their admirable arts and crafts became known beyond the country's borders and the citizens of almost all European countries became enthusiastic about these new discoveries beyond the Alps and the Etruscan style established itself in these exciting forms seen for the first time, which the artisans of the 1870s eagerly took up and combined into pieces of jewellery. In Rome, the Castellani firm became particularly famous in this context: Fortunato Pio Castellani and his sons researched the Etruscans and were soon offering first-class jewellery for the crowned heads of the continent, adopting the formal language of these early inhabitants of the Italic peninsula. But their work was also received with interest in Germany, where it was fused with the forms of their own history; the Etruscan style was taught at the arts and crafts schools in Hanau and Pforzheim.

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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.