trials and tribulations
Antique shellgem with Bacchus and Ariadne in gilded silver, around 1875
Once Ariadne, the princess of Crete, was to marry Theseus, king of Athens. After his arrival on the island of Crete, he undertook to defeat the Minotaur: That hybrid creature of man and bull that dwelt in a labyrinth and demanded human tribute from the Athenians every nine years. Ariadne, however, immediately fell in love with the king, and so she gave him a thread, thanks to which he found his way out of the labyrinth unharmed, and the two fled the island together. Poets and historians do not agree on what happened next: perhaps the union of the two displeased the gods, perhaps Theseus was insincere. In any case, he left Ariadne on the island of Naxos. Here the wine god Dionysus, or Bacchus, found the beauty asleep and immediately fell in love with her. He made her his bride, although she was to love Theseus secretly throughout her life. The present shell cameo also depicts the god of wine and his bride. In the white layer they stand out in relief against the rosy ground. Bacchus wears grapes and vine leaves in his hair, his bride a wreath of flowers. Both are richly decorated and turn their profiles towards us in the classical manner. The cameo was certainly once created as a souvenir for travellers to Italy in the Gulf of Naples. It was then set in a silver-plated gold setting, which is still clearly influenced by the archaeological style that spread from Italy to Europe. A piece of ancient history - both in terms of content and style.
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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.