Faithful Fides

Antique Locket Brooch With Layered Agate Cameo in Gold, England Around 1870

Here we see the profile of a young woman cut into a black and white agate. The finely engraved relief, in which the white head stands out effectively against its black background, shows the graceful lady in profile to the left with her hair pinned up and decorated with ivy vines. The sitter in this hardstone cameo is Fides, the personification of loving fidelity. The ivy in her hair as an attribute of Fides is easily explained: As firmly as ivy scales a wall and will not let go, fidelity binds two people together. This Victorian symbolic language was also associated by the painter Philip Hermogenes Calderon in his painting "Broken Vows" (1856), in which he depicted a faithful lover in front of a wall overgrown with ivy. The cameo is set in high karat gold and wearable as a brooch. Thirty fine natural pearls echo the white colouration of the portrait and surround the setting of the cameo with its fine luster. Black enamel adds a stylish accent to the surrounding framing, and a glance at the back of the piece of jewellery reveals that it is also a locket: Hidden here is a glazed compartment that can hold a photo, a small letter, or a lock of hair. The typical Victorian jewellery of the years around 1870 celebrates loyal love and is thus suitable, for example, as a gift for a wedding anniversary or due to its colourfulness also as a memorial piece of jewellery to a loved one.

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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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