Flower Child

Antique shell gem of the goddess Flora as pendant & brooch around 1900 and later

Shell mementos with mythological motifs were created especially in the 19th century in Italy for travellers on a Grand Tour. This so-called cavalier tour, which was intended to perfect the travellers' education, took them to the ancient monuments and art collections of Rome and Naples. The early tourists brought back small souvenirs from their trip across the Alps, which were supposed to tell of the experiences of the Italian journey. The present cameo was probably also created in Italy and found its way from there to Germany. The oval cameo shows a figure from classical mythology: we see the goddess Flora, recognisable by the luxuriant floral decoration in her hair, in beautiful three-dimensionality with a slightly lowered gaze. The immortal lady young, beautiful and graceful, was the goddess of spring and flowers. The artists portrayed Flora similar to a Greek spring glory, as a graceful, flower-adorned maiden - and in exactly this form we also meet her in this gem. A simple setting of 18-carat gold, probably added in the middle of the 20th century, makes the representation equally wearable as a pendant and brooch. The cameo came to us from Frankfurt am Main and is in very good condition.

Shellgemes were created in large numbers in southern Italy in the nineteenth century, especially for travellers from the far north of Europe. They visited the ancient monuments, studied the art collections of Rome and Naples, and brought home small souvenirs from their travels. The gem at hand here will have been created for such an occasion. As a gift for a mistress or even a future wife, the comparison with the beauty of the goddesses depicted had to flatter the recipient - and at the same time could be understood as a signal of hope that the marriage would also bear rich fruit in the future.

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.