Excursion to Pompeii

Antique bracelet with Vesuvian lava cameos, around 1870

Which traveler to Italy does not know them, the rich displays of Italian jewelers in cities like Venice, Florence or Rome? Today, as in the past, cameos are part of this offer, because it was precisely the art of cameo cutting that was given a new life in Italy in the 19th century. In the Bay of Naples, talented craftsmen carved classical motifs into rosy shells. Coral was also used to keep the memory of the Mediterranean alive. More unusual is the material at hand, which, however, is no longer used today: It is local varieties of stone that evoke a rich imagery under the name "Vesuvian Lava." From the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, which perished during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D., so many spectacular art treasures had already been brought to Naples in the 18th century that the museums here enjoyed world fame. Their visit was a mandatory stop in the city. Nor did anyone skip a visit to Pompeii itself, with its macabre allure. So what better way to commemorate this trip than with a piece of jewelry with cameos cut from the cooled lava of the formidable Mount Vesuvius? Six portraits of women have been carved here into this material. They emerge almost three-dimensionally from the oval cameos. Each of them has individual features, and they alternately wear tiaras and rose wreaths in their hair. So are they supposed to represent the goddesses Juno and Venus, or are they nameless beauties who have been captured here in the differently colored stone? Either way, the portraits evoke the imagery of antiquity that was available for travelers to admire in the buried cities. The portraits are set in tombac, a brass alloy that at first glance appears to be gold. The beautiful bracelet is very well preserved. Today, as a century and a half ago, it is a wonderful conversation piece for the wrist!

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.