Knowledge is power

Beautiful brooch with finely cut gem of Athena in gold, around 1850

The goddess Athena, young, beautiful and graceful, was in the heaven of the gods of antiquity not only the patron goddess of the city of Athens. Athena was also considered the mistress of wisdom, strategy, the arts and sciences. This gem shows us her bust in profile cut into a shell. Rich and moving, her long hair flows out from under her helmet. A sweeping helmet bush and a quadriga of galloping steeds adorn the divine headdress. Clad in plate armour and mantle, the goddess exudes an awe-inspiring majesty. Shellgemmen like these were created in large numbers in southern Italy in the 19th century, especially for travellers from the far north. Preferably Englishmen, but also Germans and Frenchmen wanted to perfect their education here, in the warm south, or simply escape the harsh climate of their homeland. They visited the ancient monuments, studied the art collections of Rome and Naples and brought back small souvenirs from their journey to the north. The gem at hand here will have been created for just such an occasion. As a gift for a mistress or even a future wife, the work was wonderfully suited: what better compliment could there be than to be compared to this beautiful goddess of the arts and wisdom through the gift of the image of Athena? In first-class condition, the gem in an elaborate gold setting in the style of the late Biedermeier period can be worn as a brooch. It was created in the years around 1850.

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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.

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.


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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.

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