Diadem and flower wreath

Victorian shell gem of Juno in gold setting, c. 1855

The heaven of the gods of antiquity knew deities for every conceivable concern and with the most diverse responsibilities. They structured the lives of people from birth to death and also ordered the course of time with their work. Juno (Hera in Greek), sister and at the same time wife of Jupiter or Zeus, was assigned the task of watching over marriage and childbirth. She is recognizable by her typical hair ornament, a kind of diadem (the so-called Stepháne, Greek στεφάνη). Here, however, the tiara has been unusually extended to include a floral wreath, the kind that distinguished young brides in Victorian times. Queen Victoria herself had worn a rich floral wreath of white orange blossoms for her wedding in 1840, inspiring many young women to do the same. Perhaps, then, the present gem was intended as a gift for a soon-to-be-married woman; for gems such as this were readily cut in the Bay of Naples by travellers to Italy, from pattern books, but also from their own designs. It is possible that a young man had his future wife depicted as Hera with a wreath of blossoms in her hair. The gem, finely cut in Italy, was then usually not set on site, but this work was done at home by a jeweller. This is how the sculptural gold setting was once created in Great Britain, which can be dated to the 1850s due to its naturalistic leaf motifs. The brooch also conceals a secret: on its reverse side is a glazed medallion compartment in which a photograph, letter or lock of hair can be stored, protected from prying eyes.

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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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