Let's go to the wine festival!

Splendid conch-gift of a bacchante as a brooch in gold, around 1870

A magnificent gem of the second half of the 19th century presents the large brooch here. An elaborate one made of 15-carat gold holds a conch shell that shines in delicate shades of cream. Cut in rich detail, we see a beautiful young lady with flowing hair as a three-quarter figure. She wears a rich ornament of vine leaves and grapes in her hair. Around her shoulders she has the fur of a panther and in her hand she carries a so-called thyrsos staff with pine cones. The sitter is therefore a bacchante. Like her Greek counterpart, the Maenad, she was a follower of the wine god Bacchus (Dionysus), who was famous and infamous for his lavish festivities, the so-called "Bacchanalia". The image of the Bacchante in the history of Western art is strongly influenced by the form that the cult, which was originally Greek, took on with the Romans. The Roman Bacchanalia probably originated from spring festivals. At the beginning of the 2nd century B.C. the cult celebrations developed into excessive feasts, which were accompanied by dances and orgies and which took place in secret. In later centuries, bacchants became synonymous with celebrating fun-loving people, but especially with lovers of good wine. The cameo carved from conch shell. Conch is the name for the large fencer snail (Strombus Gigas), whose habitat is the crystal clear, tropical sea areas of the Caribbean. The shells of the snails are characterized by a wonderful pale pink color and are particularly suitable for cutting high-quality gems. This unusual piece of jewellery was created around 1870, just a few years after conch shells were first introduced to Europe and made into jewellery. The cameo is thus an early example of this new, highly prized and precious material, which quickly became widespread, especially for gem jewellery, cf. also David Bennett/Daniela Mascetti: Understanding Jewellery, London 2010, p. 122 and p. 148f.

Shells with mythological motifs were created especially in the 19th century in Italy for travellers on a Grand Tour. This so-called cavalier tour, which should perfect the education of the travellers here, led to the antique buildings, into the art collections of Rome and Naples and the early tourists brought small souvenirs from their journey over the Alps, which should tell of the experiences of the Italian journey.

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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.