Cupid with the horses of Mars

Unusual shell cameo in gold setting, circa 1850

An unusual cameo with a funny motif, which has its origin in the world of Greek mythology, comes to the presentation in this offer: In very nice detailed cut, the shell of a sea shell is used to vary a theme of antiquity. And with surprising result! On the shell gem we see a naked winged boy. Balancing on one leg, he stands on a chariot pulled by two amused-looking little horses. It is the chariot of Mars, the god of war, which Cupid has stolen here. Thus the god of war can no longer bring misfortune upon the world: Love alone now rules heaven and earth. Where Cupid has gone we cannot say, but perhaps he is on his way to shoot his infamous arrows. For Cupid, the god of love, shoots arrows at people with a small bow - and he usually does this blindfolded, so his love arrows can also strike unplanned, accidentally and by mistake. His quiver holds projectiles with different kinds of tips for this purpose. One type of arrowhead is made of gold, the other is made of lead. Hit by a golden arrow, people ignite in the fire of love, penetrated by an arrow made of lead, you remain indifferent and unimpressed by the charms of another person. Almost a must for any collection of mythological cameos.

To possess antique cameos and gems was the claim 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, up to 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 gems, 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 travelers to Italy, who brought home imprints and carved stones as well as engraved shells from their educational journeys to enjoy the stories that the shells could tell. The art of gem 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 only professional training center for gem cutters in the world, but unfortunately the mythological theme world as a subject has been almost completely lost.

We want you to be 100% satisfied! For that reason, we examine, describe and photograph all of our jewellery with the utmost care.

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.


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.