Divine grace

Fine shell gem of Flora as pendant, around 1890

The heaven of the gods of antiquity was one of the most popular subjects of 19th century gemmologists. Always also a sign of classical education, the numerous gods and heroes of antiquity offered many opportunities for decorative representations. One figure we encounter particularly often: the goddess Flora, which we also see in fine cut on the present shell gem. The mistress of plants, recognizable by the rose ornament in her hair, was known for her youthful beauty. Perhaps her enduring popularity can be explained by the fact that the wearers hoped to share a little of the grace of the immortals. In our depiction, Flora also embodies the ideal of classical beauty. Rendered in profile, the goddess radiates a dignified majesty. The oval gem was probably created in the Bay of Naples. The region is known for its numerous Roman works of art, which served as models for the gem cutters. A cord setting of gold holds the gem, which was made around 1890. With a matching gold chain, the pendant can be worn immediately around the neck. This elegant piece of jewellery is a wonderful testimony to a time when gems were particularly popular and no self-respecting lady could do without such a piece.

Shellgemas were created in large numbers in southern Italy in the 19th century, especially for travellers from the far north of Europe. They visited the ancient monuments, studied the art collections of Rome and Naples, and brought home small souvenirs from their journey. The present gem will have been created for such an occasion. As a gift for a mistress or even a future wife, the comparison with the beauty of the goddesses depicted had to flatter the recipient - and at the same time could be understood as a signal of hope that the marriage would also bear rich fruit in the future.

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.