The Angel of the Annunciation

Victorian shell cameo after Guido Reni mounted as a gold brooch, c. 1855

The Italian gem cutters of the 19th century almost without exception referred to well-known motifs from art - famous paintings, for example, reliefs, sometimes even Roman coins. Entire pattern books of graphics based on famous originals were available to the craftsmen. Travelers from all over the world then acquired these small works of art, often to have them set as jewelry at home. This gem is based on a work by the famous Italian Baroque painter Guido Reni. We see Gabriel, the angel of the Annunciation, whose youthful profile is turned towards the viewer. The scene represents a detail from Reni's Annunciazione (1628-29), now in the Pinacoteca civica di Ascoli Piceno (see last image). Cropped prints showing only Gabriel circulated early on, such as a copper engraving by Robert Strange, of which the Wellcome Collection holds a copy. The gem is set in high karat gold. Based on its precisely crafted setting with scrolled and engraved ornaments typical of the period, we date the large gem to the 1850s. It was probably made in England, where we were able to discover it.

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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.

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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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