Be sure to wear some flowers

Large cameo of Flora as brooch in gold, Naples circa 1880

Impressive in its detailed cut and its lifelike three-dimensionality, the present shell gem of the late 19th century shows itself. Held in a simple gold setting, the gem can be worn as a brooch. The oval cameo depicts a figure from classical mythology: the Roman pantheon of gods in antiquity knew many deities, for every conceivable concern and with the most diverse responsibilities. The goddess Flora, young, beautiful, graceful, was the goddess of spring, and of flowers. Artists depicted Flora as resembling a Greek springtime glory, as a graceful maiden adorned with flowers - and this is precisely the form in which we encounter her in this cameo. Rendered in side view, the goddess emerges from the clouds. She wears the classic garment of gossamer fabric, the so-called peplos. Not least the luxuriant floral decoration of her hair and the garland in her hands made of manifold and densely filled blossoms is inspiring. The height of the detailed depiction creates a rich play of light and shadow and gives it an amazing depth. This wonderfully preserved piece of jewellery was created in Italy in the years around 1880, a time when gems were particularly popular and no self-respecting lady could do without such a piece.

Shellgemes were created in large numbers in southern Italy in the nineteenth century, especially for travellers from the far north of Europe. They visited the ancient monuments, studied the art collections of Rome and Naples, and brought home small souvenirs from their travels. The gem at hand here will have been created for such an occasion. As a gift for a mistress or even a future wife, the comparison with the beauty of the goddesses depicted had to flatter the recipient - and at the same time could be understood as a signal of hope that the marriage would also bear rich fruit in the future.

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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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