God of Love's mission

Gold set shellgem of classicism with Venus & Cupid, around 1800

This unusual cameo shows an exciting motif that has its origins in the world of Greek mythology. In very nice cut, the shell of a sea shell is used to present an episode from the life of Venus and Cupid. The popular couple of the classical mythology owes many a great fortune, but also many a misfortune. The goddess of love Venus, born from a shell and responsible for the flourishing of love on earth, had a little helper: the god of love Cupid. Cupid shoots arrows at people with a small bow - and he usually does this blindfolded, so his love arrows can also strike unplanned, accidentally and by mistake! His quiver holds projectiles with different kinds of tips for this purpose. One half of the arrowheads is made of gold, the other half is made of lead. Hit by a golden arrow, people ignite in the fire of love, penetrated by an arrow made of lead, you remain indifferent and unimpressed by the charms of another person. On our shell-gem we see the naked winged boy accepting a wreath of myrtle from the hand of Venus with outstretched arms. The lightly clad Venus sits on a rock and looks expectantly. Holding a decanter of wine or fragrant oil, she gazes into a burning bowl from which smoke is rising. Perhaps she has read from the rising incense an oracle bringing a lover to an unknown lady, whom Cupid is now to find? Joyfully excited the little messenger of love seems and also the goddess seems to be confident! So the god of love has received a mission. Whether a golden or a leaden arrow is to be shot here, we do not know - but of course we hope for a projectile made of gold! The gem was probably cut in Italy in the years around 1800 and then given a simple gold setting in the style of classicism. Due to the motifs and workmanship, this highly decorative piece is almost a must for any collection of mythological gems and cameos.

For centuries, the possession of antique cameos and gems was the claim of almost all great collections and chambers of curiosities, from the Green Vault in Dresden and the treasury of Rudolf II to large private collections such as that of Baron von Stosch in later times. The 18th and 19th centuries produced numerous large imprint collections of antique seal stones and gems, which sought to represent the antique imagery of glyptic in its entirety, as they were also 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 large-scale training centre for gem-cutters in the world, but unfortunately the mythological theme world as a subject has been almost completely lost.

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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.