The Goddess of Spring
Exceptional coral jemme in diamond-studded gold setting, circa 1865
Coral jewellery as a typically Italian form of jewellery has a long tradition: in Torre del Greco, in the bay at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, a centre for coral processing was established in the early 19th century, whose masters continue to transform this treasure of the sea into artistic creations to this day. Since then, coral jewelry has become a coveted souvenir of an educationally perfecting trip to Italy. However, the red Mediterranean corals were not only carved into pearls, but also, especially towards the middle of the century, into sculptural flowers and mythological figures: knowledge of the gods of ancient mythology was still a self-evident part of a classical education at that time. Here it is the goddess Flora who looks out at us, identified by her youthful appearance and rich floral adornment. In Roman mythology, Flora was the goddess of blossom, spring and fertility, and was thus always depicted as a beautiful woman in the prime of her life. The Floralia, a festival celebrated by the Roman people, paid homage to her every year between April and May. The beautiful goddess looks to us as a sculptured effigy, from which her features and locks of hair, the blossoms, even the individual pearls of her jewellery are finely carved. These ornamented gem motifs, which were also adapted to contemporary fashion in their hairstyles, were particularly popular in the period between 1860 and 1870. However, it is rare to find such a finely and three-dimensionally worked gem in the medium of coral: Many antique coral gems of even good quality appear slightly distorted in perspective, as their dimensions were dictated by those of the coral branch. Even less likely to find a piece of similar quality is to find a coral cameo of this size cut from a single piece of coral. At more than 4.6 cm tall, the cameo is exceptionally large, making it incredibly rare. Here now, the picture-perfect natural material in a rarely found size and the hand of the artisan have entered into a happy union. A massive frame of yellow gold with diamond roses of fine quality surrounds the portrait. As a glance under the magnifying glass reveals, the gem was once wearable in variations; for this reason the original C-hook of the brooch is also retractable, although the pin and its mounting itself were later fixed. Originally, this brooch was probably intended to be presented as a splendid centerpiece of a bracelet. It is excellently preserved and a rare find, not often to be found on the market in this quality.
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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.
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.