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Time Dances By

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Item: Description: Price:


QUEEN OF THE IMMORTALS ( Antique Victorian Jewelry Shell Cameo Brooch of Hera ): Hera/Juno, wife of Zeus, is the subject of this splendid large-scale Victorian hand carved shell Cameo. (c. 1840-60) Carved from Bull's Mouth shell, Hera wears a diadem (Spartan crown) and a veil signifying her roles as Queen of Olympus and a marriage divinity. She was the protector of marriage, children and families. The proud, regal peacock was her bird, reflecting her royal status. Hera put the eyes of her servant, Argus, into the peacock's one-hundred-eyed tail so he could keep watch on the misbehaving Zeus for her. Juno was Hera's Roman equivalent and her month, June, was favored for weddings. This magnificent cameo carving is a masterpiece of the carver's art – remarkable for its detail and use of the natural coloring of the shell. Notice the finely rendered roses in her hair, the swirls of hair curls and even the tiny “beads” in her diadem. The depth of her veil with its realistic folds is truly a wonder. Set in a 9 KT mount with a C clasp closure,the tiny ring at the top once held a safety chain. This is a large Cameo for a woman shopping for a statement piece. It has been in my personal collection for many years.

A superb quality large and eye-catching Antique Cameo Brooch – wonderfully wearable and enormously collectible. A gift to a loved one or for yourself.....a gift that will be treasured today, tomorrow and by future generations.

Condition: Excellent. Crisp and no evidence of wear.
Size: 2 5/8” high, 2” wide, 5/8” deep.



THE VANISHING BEAUTY OF TORTOISESHELL ( Antique Victorian Jewelry Tortoiseshell Cameo Pendant ):From my personal collection, I am offering an exquisite blend of old and new – truly unique in design. (c. 1850/2000) This dazzling designed Victorian Tortoiseshell Cameo has been reset in a spectacular pendant surrounded by 14 KT gold leaves with citrine and topaz semi-precious stones. The versatility of Tortoiseshell, its rich colors and light weight, all helped to make it one of the most popular sought-after materials to come from the sea. A deeply carved Bacchante, with grapes and grape leaves in her hair, is rendered with the utmost delicacy. Her arm is wrapped around her as if embracing her trademark hair decorations. Notice the smooth beauty of her face and arm. Her eyes gaze longingly at yesterday. But she is safe now, surviving as the centerpiece of this dream of a pendant. The gold leaves are repoussé work and vary in size. The three green citrine ovals are bezel set and the lovely triangular drop is a smoked topaz, echoing the color of the tortoiseshell maiden. There is a sizable pendant hook on the back. (The chain is not included.) I found this beauty of a cameo unset and had it for several years before I decided that she was simply too beautiful to be hidden away in a box. The result is a one-of-a-kind blend of eras that saved this vanishing beauty and returned her to her former splendor. The pendant is stunning against your skin, on ivory lace or smart and chic on shades of blue or green. Photos do not do justice to this pendant. I am certain that I will never have another piece like this. You will treasure this tortoiseshell pendant for another lifetime – so easy to love!

Condition: Excellent. No chips on tortoiseshell. The chain is not included.
Size: Entire pendant is 5 1/2” long, 2 1/4” wide. Cameo is 1 3/4” high, 1 1/4” wide, 3/8” deep.



LADIES OF THE SEA ( Antique Victorian Jewelry Coral Cameo Earrings ): Coral has been a symbol of beauty, hope and protection since classical times. (Coral was the most popular gift for babies.) These feminine carved Mediterranean Coral Earrings (c. 1870-80) are set in 14 KT gold. The center of each earring has a miniature hand carving of a classical lady's face. The faces are surrounded by eight round coral beads and accentuated by three torpedo shaped free swinging coral dangles. The original pearls have been replaced by new white faux pearls – this was probably done because of wear or loss. There are 14 KT pierced ear wires. When you wear these pretty ladies they seem to “dance” in your ears giving a very enchanting life to the earrings. The color of the coral is a vibrant salmon-orange. Coral is a product of sea life and a soft material. When carving, the waste is great, which accounts in part for the high cost of true coral. Mediterranean Coral is not longer available so it will become more and more rare and valuable. Don't pass up these striking “dancing” ladies – the compliments will just keep coming! You won't be disappointed.

Condition: The coral is in very good condition. There is a small chip in the top, back of the left central dangle. The faux pearls are replacements but don't diminish the value of the coral.
Size: Medium. 1 3/4” long, 1/2” wide, 3/8” deep.



THE BIRTH OF APHRODITE ( Antique Art Nouveau / Arts & Crafts Jewelry Hardstone Cameo Pendant ):Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure and procreation. The myth of her birth has her rising from the sea on a scallop shell. She had no childhood and instead was born as a nubile fully grown adult. (The iconic representation of Aphrodite/Venus as a mature “Venus rising from the sea” was made famous in a much admired painting by Botticelli, circa 1485.) Goddess of love and beauty, her sole purpose was to be adored by gods and men. Her irresistible charm was the most formidable of her powers – magic to make the sanest man go mad! Her symbols were the dolphin, scallop shell, dove, mirror and the swan. In this carnelian hardstone cameo, Aphrodite, in a draped gown, holds the chariot shell reins to two dolphins as they pull her ashore. Set in an Art Nouveau style vermeil (gold wash over silver) framework, the curves are accented by tiny orbs creating a delightful scene of charm and fantasy. (c. 1900) A nice sized bale holds a lovely, golden box chain with a spring ring closure. This exquisite hardstone cameo is more difficult and time-consuming to fashion and requires a great deal of skill with lathe-held tools. Cameo experts point out that hardstones are not “carved” but more engraved. Truly a miniature sculpture complete down to the tiniest detail! This Cameo Pendant combines art and jewelry into one perfect piece of Antique excellence. A real treasure at a great price!

Condition: Excellent. A few of the “beads” of the border at the top of the hardstone show slight wear. The 14 KT chain is included.
Size: Frame work setting is 1 5/8” high, 1 3/8” wide. Hardstone Cameo is 1 1/4” high, 7/8” wide, 1/4” deep. Chain is 18” long.



DIONYSUS WITH PANTHER PELT ( Antique Victorian Jewelry Shell Cameo Brooch / Pin or Pendant ): By the second half of the 19th Century the Cameo had become an essential item of female adornment. Traveling was a passion and tourists, then as now, were of a single mind when it came to taking home souvenirs to remind them of their holiday and when visiting Italy, Cameos were their mementos of choice. This large hand carved Black Helmet shell depicts a superb portrait of Dionysus (Greek) or Bacchus (Roman) the hedonistic god of the vine, wine and fertility. He is seen here wearing a vine wreath crown and holding a grape laden vine in his hands. There is a large panther pelt – the animal most often associated with Dionysus – flung over his shoulder with its head clearly visible at his waist. His cult of mysticism with its elements of revelry and wine was extremely popular, attracting a wild band of attendant revelers – playing music and dancing with abandonment. Once his culture was secure, he went to live on Mount Olympus. He was a kind god and is sometime seen holding a theatre mask symbolic of the link between Dionysus and the development of Greek Theatre. Victorian Cameo carvers often toned down subjects like this so as not to offend Victorian ladies who found anything too wild to be distasteful. The 3 dimensional carving remains very crisp and the deep brown of the shell sets off the white male figure beautifully. It is set in a Sterling Silver mount accented with a frame of perfect wire twists. I was so pleased to find a scarce Sterling Silver mount! The original extended pin stem and C clasp remain in place. There is a large O ring on the back that could be used with a chain should you prefer to wear this Cameo as a pendant. It is unusual to find a male cameo subject and this one is a significantly large and dramatic piece of Art Jewelry.

Condition: Excellent. (Chain not included.)
Size: 2 1/2” high, 2 1/4”, 3/4” deep.



RARE EGYPTIAN REVIVAL CORAL BACCHANTE ( Antique Victorian Coral Cameo Pendant / Brooch ): This beautifully carved 3-dimensional Victorian Coral Cameo was undoubtedly carved when Victorian Egyptian Revival jewelry was popular (c. 1870-80). The central lovely lady is carved as a traditional Bacchante representation. You can see the neck of her Grecian gown, grapes and grape leaves cover her head and curls drape down both sides of her neck. This cameo differs by being set in a carved coral frame with Egyptian figures extending out both sides. This cameo is a lovely orange coral color. Mediterranean Coral is no longer obtainable so it will only become more and more rare and valuable. The coral frame is made up of eight pieces of coral set together. They, plus the Bacchante head are held firmly in place by a 14 KT replacement gold frame containing a small swivel bale and a pin back with safety clasp. Don't pass up this exquisite lady of the vineyard.

Condition: Excellent.
Size: 1 5/8” high, 1 5/8” wide, 3/4” deep.



WOODLAND SPIRIT ( Antique Victorian / Georgian Bone Cameo Brooch / Pin ): This is a rare Early Georgian Bone Cameo Brooch. (c. 1800-20) The subject matter of this beautifully hand carved French Cameo is an exotic tree spirit as indicated by the large fancy leaf setting above and below (curved forward at the top) with scrolls on both sides. It is unusual due to the deep reverse carving probably done to give the piece a completely open mouth. The eyes are very penetrating. Note the beaded necklace which is actually hanging from the scrolls. The cameo has an excellent patina and the grain can be seen on the final close-up photo. It has its original C clasp closure and extended pin stem. I have never seen a Cameo like this and I love its exotic nature. A special addition for your collection!

Condition: A few fine lines at base of leaves at top. Barely visible to the naked eye. No broken leaf tips.
Size: 2 1/2" high, 1 3/4" wide, 3/4" deep.



RAPHAEL'S CELESTIAL CHERUB ( Victorian Antique Bone Jewelry Cherub Brooch / Pin ): In Victorian times, when Heaven was only a heartbeat away for so many – young and old, the two famous Vatican Cherubs painted by the Italian Renaissance painter, Raphael, in his “Sistine Madonna” (1512) were favored subjects for jewelry artists. The Celestial Cherubs have there arms resting on the bottom edge of the painting and both are gazing upward towards Mary and baby Jesus. This Bone Brooch depicts the Cherub on the left with his chin resting on his hand. I have had miniatures and enamels of him, but this is the first Antique Bone depiction I've discovered. It was carved by a master carver in Dieppe, France around 1870. The detail of this miniature masterpiece is quite remarkable. Even more remarkable is that it has survived over 140 years in perfect condition. It has its original C clasp pin back. I am including the antique jewelry box it came in. The pin fits nicely into the pin groove in the blue velvet base and the brooch is held firmly, yet gently, by the padded silk top. Make sure you capture this Cherub!

Condition: Excellent. No broken tips. Box included.
Size: 2” wide, 1 7/8” high, 3/16” deep.



A NEW DAY ( Victorian Antique Apollo & Aurora Shell Cameo Brooch / Pin ): This large, impressive, beautifully carved natural shell cameo (c. 1870-80) is an accurate depiction of Quido Reni's frescoed ceiling of the Casino dell' Aurora of the Rospigliosi Palace in Rome. It is considered his masterpiece. His fresco and this cameo show Apollo – god of the light, sun and prophecy among other things – surrounded by a circle of dancing women representing the hours of the day. His chariot is drawn by three horses led by Aurora/Eos, goddess of dawn and they are ascending up a roadway of clouds. A cupid flies above them holding a torch to light up a new day. Beneath the clouds lies a still dark area of land, sea, mountains and sky. I have included a photo of a poster of the original fresco. The cameo is in a gilt gold case mount decorated by a fine gold roping and twisted ribbon. It has a replacement shielded pin back closure. The size, incredible depth, quality and condition make this a museum piece that you can wear with the assurance of displaying the BEST!

Condition: Excellent. The cameo was removed in antiquity for safety's sake when the pin back was replaced. Areas of wire and solder used to firmly re-set the cameo can be seen only from the back.
Size: Total 3” wide, 2 1/2” high, 1/2” deep. Cameo 2 5/8” wide, 2 1/8” high.



LOVE FOR SALE ( Victorian Antique “Woman Selling Cupids” Shell Cameo Brooch / Pin ): No wonder the word “Romantic” comes from “Roman”. This beautifully hand-carved Victorian Shell Cameo (c. 1880-90) depicts a Roman woman selling Love in the form of Cupids. It is an amazingly accurate replication of a Roman Fresco taken from the wall of a wealthy Roman's Villa and now displayed in the National Archeological Museum in Naples. (I have photographed the original for comparison.) That Roman Villa was one of several in the small port town of Stabiae buried by the 6th and strongest eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD. Stabiae was first discovered in 1749 with excavation taking place up to 1782. It became reburied and forgotten until 1950. Because it was the site of a number of summer villas of wealthy Romans it contained many of the finest Mount Vesuvius related artifacts. This cameo has a simple 9KT rose gold setting – all one would want for a cameo scene with all this detail. Replacement hinge and pin stem with original C clasp and safety chain attached. Wouldn't it be great to be able to purchase a Cupid whom you could direct towards the one you loved?

Condition: Excellent. An antique that looks like new!
Size: Cameo alone 2” wide, 1 1/2” high, Total 2 1/8” wide, 1 5/8” high, 1/4” deep.



FIRST BLUSH OF INNOCENCE ( Antique Victorian Jewelry Enamel Portrait Miniature Pendant ): When you hold this little blonde, blue-eyed beauty (c. 1870-80) in your hand you will find it impossible to believe that she sat for this painted enamel over 135 years ago. It looks brand new – as if she were this beautiful little girl just yesterday! Think of the great pleasure holding and viewing this picture must have given to her wealthy mother and father those many years ago. We can thank the well known Parisian photographer and artist – Mathieu Deroche – for this miracle. Deroche used a very difficult process consisting of using collodion to transfer a photograph from a glass plate to a slightly domed oval of white enamel. He then painted the black and white photo and filled in the background with vitrifiable (melt-able) pigment and then gently heated it to fix the pigment. After signing it, he covered the picture with a layer of clear enamel and fired it – preserving her perfectly for posterity. His fame spread until he was painting not only his own commissioned photographs, but those sent to him by photographers from other countries. Our little blonde angel wears a white pinafore, pink ribbons in her hair and holds a blush pink rose. You can see how beautifully Deroche's painted background sets her off. Along the right edge is the signature: “Mathieu-Deroche, Paris”. She is set in a large Sterling Silver frame with a japanned (darkened) silver bow and ribbons at the top. The ring on the back rotates so that she can either be hung from a hook or worn as a pendant. Adopt her as part of your family!

Condition: Excellent. Purchased at auction. Small chip at bottom of enamel. Barely visible. (Chain not included.)
Size: Oval is 4” high, 3 1/4” wide, 1/4” deep.



LUSCIOUS LAVA LADY ( Victorian Jewelry Lava Cameo Brooch / Pin ): Victorians had a passion for travel and heading the list of tourist sights were the newly uncovered ruins of Pompeii. Tourists, then as now, were of a single mind when it came to taking home souvenirs to remind them of their holiday and lava Cameos from Mount Vesuvius became the mementos of choice. You can see why that long-ago Victorian picked this particular Lava Cameo. She – the figure herself – is one of the most beautiful cameo ladies I have ever seen. Notice the delicate feminine beauty of her face and her perfect nose. Lavish and intricate in its every detail, this gorgeous hand carved tan Antique Lava Cameo depicts a Bacchante, one of the female followers of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine and fertility. (c. 1840-60) Just look at the incredible depth of the relief and the fine under-carving delineating the leaves and grapes twisted through her hair. Her long curls drape down over her neck, chest and left shoulder. She wears a low cut Greek gown and a single strand of pearls. Lava Cameos have dramatically increased in popularity as buyers rediscover the history of lava carving and the perfection of the classical look. She is in a plain 14KT gold setting with a replacement pin back and a safety catch. In excellent working condition. The color tan looks well on so many colors and says to viewers that your style is sophisticated and elite. Add this Luscious Lady to your collection. You won't be disappointed.

Condition: Excellent.
Size: 2” high, 1 5/8” wide, 1/2” deep.



HERCULES ( Antique Victorian Jewelry Shell Cameo Brooch / Pin ): Over the years I have come to favor Antique Cameos based on either Greek Mythology or real life individuals. The great majority are women, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to discover this handsome mid-relief carved depiction of Hercules. That is the better known Roman name for this heroic god based on the Greek divinity – Heracles – son of Zeus and Alcemene and consort of Hebe – cup-bearer to the gods. Heracles was the greatest of the Greek heroes and a paragon of masculinity. His iconic attributes are the lion skin and the club – both shown on this cameo. One of his most famous feats of valor was that of killing the vicious Nemean Lion with his bare hands. It is the bases of many works of art. The plain jet setting of this Victorian Shell Cameo (c. 1870-90) provides the perfect masculine touch. It is beautifully hand carved. Note how even the lion's whiskers show. On the reverse is the original extended Victorian pin stem and C clasp in excellent working order. A real catch for any serious Cameo collector!

Condition: Excellent.
Size: 1 7/8” high, 1 1/2” wide, 3/8” deep.



“NIGHT & DAY” YOU ARE THE ONE ( Victorian Jewelry Shell Cameo Brooch / Pendant ): Perhaps Cole Porter was inspired to write his famous song “Night & Day” by Bertel Thorvaldsen's Roman Reliefs (1815) of the Greek Goddesses of Night & Day. Certainly many works of art have been based on this Danish artist's most famous work – now hanging in the Thorvaldsen Museum in Copenhagen. “Day & Night” is one of the most desirable and sought after cameo subjects. This beautifully hand carved Antique Shell Cameo (c. 1850-70) depicts the head and shoulders of both goddesses floating on a bank of clouds. It contains the most popular elements of each. On the left Day (Eos / Aurora) has her head thrown back and with her eyes wide open as she looks up and welcomes the rising sun. She wears a crown of roses which bloom in the daytime. On the right Night (Nyx / Nox) looks down with her eyes closed in sleep. She wears the veil of night and crown of poppies – symbols of sleep and dreams. In front of them is an eagle representing Zeus, father of all the gods and goddesses in Greek mythology. This relatively large Victorian Cameo Brooch is in a Sterling Silver bezel setting decorated by two encircling ropes of silver. On the reverse is a replacement hinge and pin stem with the original C clasp in excellent working condition. There is a sturdy loop at the top meant for a safety chain. I have added a ring bale to show how it can be worn as a pendant, giving you added flexibility. A lovely gift for any woman. I don't know about your husband, but mine wants to give me beautiful things – he just needs a little push in the right direction. Porter's next line says it all - “Only you 'neath the moon or under the sun.”

Condition: Excellent. On the translucent view you can seen two very feint fine lines above Day's head which appear to be stress marks, however even with a loop I cannot see them on the front or back surface, so they must be internal only. (Ring for bale included.)
Size: 2 3/8” high, 1 7/8” wide, 1/2” deep.


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