Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses

19th Century Layered Agate Cameo in a Vintage Pendant, Circa 1870/1970

Greek philosophy is at the cradle of Western civilization and continues to have an impact today. Since the sixth century B.C., Greek thinkers developed models of the world that offered rational explanations beyond mythology. Especially the names Socrates, Plato and Aristotle are still considered the epitome of wisdom. This pendant presents an extraordinary cameo that pays homage to ancient philosophy. In rich detail, the two-coloured agate shows the head of a Greek philosopher, presumably the great Socrates. The curly beard and the hairless head stand out against the red background. Deep wrinkles on the forehead give the thinker a brooding look and a wreath of foliage crowns the Prince of Thinkers. The cameo was cut in the years around 1870. In the 19th century, antiquity was considered a great model and stone carving with motifs of famous personalities or mythological figures flourished. In the second half of the 20th century, the antique cameo was made wearable as a pendant with a setting of yellow gold. The resulting piece of jewellery is wearable with a renewed gold chain and it is an exciting and completely handcrafted unique piece that knows how to convey the education of its wearer wordlessly.

To possess antique cameos has been the ambition 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 as in 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 cameos, 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 imprints 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 cameo 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 world's only professional training centre for cameo-cutters, although 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.