On the run from love?

Fabulous cameo - stone ring in gold with agate intaglio: Love? around 1870 Gemme

Sometimes pieces of jewellery pose a riddle even to the most cunning art historian. This is the case with this ring made of high-carat gold, which was probably created in the years around 1870. The ring sets a carnelian engraved with an intaglio showing three figures. We see two winged mythical creatures, we think we can make out buck feet and small horns. These two fauns are targeting a lady who has taken refuge in a tree that occupies the centre of the motif. Perhaps this mythological scene is an epic poem from Ovid's Methamorphoses, unknown to us? Do we see an escape from (physical) love? Possibly the teasing motif is only due to the ingenuity of a cameo cutter who was looking for a motif that would make us think and smile? The setting in rich, very high-carat gold follows the 1870s preference for archaeological forms. For example, the band holding the stone is granulated and fine cord soldering adorns the ring band. A decorative 19th century ring with a witty figural scene!

To possess antique cameos and gems was the claim of almost all great collections for centuries: We find spectacular pieces as well in the Green Vault in Dresden, in the treasury of Rudolf II, up to the great private collections like that of Baron Stosch in later times. The 18th and 19th centuries produced numerous large imprint collections of antique seal stones and gems, which represent the antique imagery of glyptic almost in its entirety. Thus they were not least an expression of a humanistic education. Of particular importance for the transmission of stone and shell carvings north of the Alps have always been travellers to Italy, who brought home impressions and carved stones as well as engraved shells from their educational journeys in order to enjoy the stories that the shells could tell. The art of gem cutting has survived to this day in Italy, especially in the Bay of Naples, where it has been passed down from generation to generation. Today, the Scuola dei Cammei in Torre del Greco is the only professional training centre in the world for gem-cutters, although unfortunately the mythological theme has almost been lost as a subject.

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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.

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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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