Just do not get jealous!
Small shell cameo with depiction of Psyche as a brooch, around 1855
A beautiful young lady looks slightly over her own shoulder. Rich and full, her hair curls over her head and neck, barely tamed by a ribbon. She wears an ancient robe and, to everyone's surprise, butterfly wings grow from her back! Thus she leads us into the realm of Greek mythology. Depicted is Psyche, an ancient king's daughter whose beauty was so great and famous that it sparked the jealousy of the goddess Venus. After some intrigue, she finally married Cupid, Venus' messenger of love, and became an immortal goddess. The butterfly as a symbol of the soul is her attribute and so she found her way into art. The brooch presented here encloses the sculpturally cut portrait of Psyche with a richly detailed framing of 15-karat gold. The sculpted cut of the cameo is matched by the beautifully crafted frame with sculpted floral and foliate motifs. The cameo, probably cut in Italy and subsequently set in gold in England, was created in the years around 1855, which is revealed not only by the shape but also by the small gold stamp on the back, which was not used until 1854. As a particularly beautiful testimony to the perception of the contemporary, distinguished world in Italy, it is not only a wonderful collector's item, but at the same time a wonderful and first-class executed cameo, whose fine and sensitive representation is immediately touching. The cameo found its way to us in London.
For centuries, the possession of gems and cameos was the claim of almost all great collections of decorative arts and chambers of curiosities, from the Green Vault in Dresden to 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 were able to represent the antique imagery of glyptic almost in its entirety, as they were also an expression of a humanistic education. However, the art of cutting gems 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 center for gem-cutters in Italy. Of particular importance for the transmission of stone and shell carving north of the Alps have always been travelers to Italy, who brought home impressions and cut stones as well as engraved shells from their educational travels to enjoy.
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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.