Apollo, god of the arts

Medallion brooch with first class Lagestein cameo in gold, around 1860

In its exceptional cut and lifelike three-dimensionality, the brooch here from around 1860 is an impressive piece. Held in a broad setting of velvety gold, the brooch features a cameo of layered stone in white and rosy red. Eight rose-cut diamonds effectively hold the masterfully cut intaglio. Unlike shell cameos, where the soft limestone shell allows the carver to work easily, gem carving in lagen stone is far more difficult. The material is much harder and more difficult to work with - and requires great mastery. All the more impressive is the quality of the stone carving in our cameo. The oval portrait shows a figure from classical mythology: Apollo, the son of Zeus, the father of the gods. In ancient mythology, Apollo was the god of music, poetry and song. Numerous adventures and events revolve around him, and the fates of many other deities and characters in the ancient sagas are interwoven with him. As the protector of the arts, Apollo presided over the nine Muses. As one of the most important gods of Greece, the famous oracle site at Delphi was dedicated to him. The most famous representation of the god is certainly the so-called Apollo of the Belvedere, an antique statue, which is kept in the Vatican since its rediscovery in the Renaissance. But there are other representations and our brooch goes back to the so-called type of Apollo Kitharoidos, the "lute-playing Apollo". A famous fresco from the house of Augustus on the Palatine shows him in this way. With flowers in his long, flowing hair, he devotes himself entirely to the fine arts. It is not least this floral decoration that inspires enthusiasm in our gem. The height of the detailed depiction creates a rich play of light and shadow and gives it an astonishing depth. This wonderfully preserved piece of jewellery was created around 1860 and is glazed on the back. Here a small compartment allows to store photographs, hair of the beloved or a souvenir. Thus protected from prying eyes, the god of arts keeps her little secret. Cf. also David Bennett/Daniela Mascetti: Understanding Jewellery, London 2010, p. 122 as well as p. 148f.

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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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