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Time Dances By

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Item: Description: Price:


CURIOUS CHERUBS ( Victorian Antique “Sistine Madonna” Cherubs Shell Cameo Brooch / Pin ): These two sweet little winged Cherubs are the lucky ones that Raphael chose to adorn the lower part of his famous “Sistine Madonna”. They are both peeking upward at the baby Jesus, held by his mother, Mary. She is flanked by Saint Sixtus and Saint Barbara. All are posed on a bed of clouds – seen around the edges of the cameo. The painting was commissioned by Pope Julius II (nephew of Saint Sixtus) as an altarpiece for the church of San Sisto in Piacenza, Italy. It now hangs as a central painting in the Dresden Old Masters Picture Gallery. This beautifully hand carved shell cameo (c. 1890-1900) does a wonderful job of relaying their curious upward gaze and showing their delicate hair and wings. It is nice sized and set in a decorative 9KT Rose Gold setting with the original C clasp pin back. See if you can capture these Curious Cherubs for your own!

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



RARE ST. MICHAEL VANQUISHING SATAN CAMEO ( Victorian Jewelry Shell Cameo Brooch / Pin ): More than Museum quality this large hand carved Antique Shell Cameo Brooch depicts a rare subject, St. Michael, the Archangel, slaying the devil. (c. 1860) This rendering is taken from a painting from 1635 by Guido Reni, a prominent Italian painter of high-Baroque style. This cameo is simply incredible. The scene is alive with exciting details – the huge wings, the upraised sword, the armor with wonderful sleeve detail and the furiously swirling draperies – all speak of the moment to come. Satan has wonderful facial features and his wings appear to be webbed. The flames of hell surround him as St. Michael pulls on the chain about to dispatch him forever. This antique cameo is set in 14KT gold with a C clasp closure and an extended pin stem. St. Michael and St. George are considered to be the patron saints of the Warrior. Police officers and soldiers regard him as their patron. Such an action filled museum quality masterwork!

Condition: Excellent.
Size: Large. 2 1/4" high, 2” wide, 1/4" deep at the top & bottom.


ALLEGORY OF HOPE ( Victorian Jewelry Shell Cameo Brooch / Pin ): I am pleased to offer this fabulous quality Victorian Shell Cameo Brooch, beautifully hand carved to depict a goddess / maiden holding a large anchor – the allegory for Hope. (c. 1860-80) Victorians loved allegorical symbols and “Hope” was a protection against illness and death, so common in the 19th Century. Childbirth, plague, wars and diseases that we commonly treat today, such as appendicitis, carried a death sentence. Of course, the anchor would also apply to those many brave men lost at sea. Notice the delicate facial features, her cascading locks of hair and the sumptuous swirl of draperies that cover her figure. I believe that the anchor itself is leaning on a rock. Steadfast hope. The carver has used the natural caramel colored portions of the shell to enhance her hair, the rock and the inside tip of the anchor. The gold ribbon twist bezel is marked 14KT gold. The C clasp closure is marked 18KT gold along with other English jewelry markings. The 3 side views show how the setting follows the curves of the shell. A suburb quality, large and eye catching Antique Cameo brooch – wonderfully wearable and enormously collectible, too. “Hope” is a thing we all desire.

Condition: Excellent. Appears unworn.
Size: 2 1/8” high, 1 3/4" wide, 3/8” deep.


SOCRATIC IRONY ( Victorian Jewelry Hera / Socrates Shell Cameo Brooch / Pin ): The dealer I purchased this rare and unusual 2-faced Antique Cameo from said it was Hera and Socrates. As best I can tell, she was correct. Question: Why would a Victorian Cameo artist put Socrates with Hera? There is no doubt about this being Hera, Queen of Olympus, wife (and sister) of Zeus and the protector of marriage, children and families. She is always shown wearing a diadem (small crown) and veil – seen hanging down along her neck. The peacock is one of her symbols and my favorite story about her concerns how the peacock got the “eyes” on its feathers. Zeus's infidelity drove her to despair – to the point she became vengeful towards his lovers and their offspring. Hera put the eyes of her servant, Argus, into the peacock's tail feathers so he could watch Zeus for her! This man's face certainly looks like the various ancient statues and busts of Socrates, known for his unkempt appearance. We now think of him as one of the founders of Western philosophy, contributing to the field of ethics and the concepts of the Socratic method and Socratic irony. In his day he was known as a “gadfly” of the state, convicted of heresy and sentenced to death by drinking Hemlock. Socrates with Hera? Socratic Irony! Part of his heresy was based on his “impiety” (not believing in the gods of the state). He was frequently heard to speak of a “god” (monotheistic) rather than the polytheistic Greek/Athenian religion. Is it not ironic to juxtapose Socrates with Hera – Queen of the Greek gods? The carving on this cameo is high quality. It is in a 9KT (marked) gold mounting with the original C clasp closure and a ring for a safety chain. Add this exceedingly rare cameo to your collection. You will not see another!

Condition: Excellent. A few fine striations seen only on trans-illumination.
Size: 1 5/8” high, 1 3/8” wide, 3/8” deep.



THE PIPES OF PAN ( Victorian Shell Cameo Jewelry Brooch / Pin ): He was a god of Nature, of the fields and woods and of shepherds and their flocks. Pan was half-human, half-beast – with a human face and the horns, ears and hooves of a goat. He lived in a pastoral paradise called Arcadia where he hunted and frolicked with nymphs, centaurs and satyrs. One of the most famous myths about Pan involves the origin of his Pan Flute, fashioned from lengths of hollow reed. Syrinx was a lovely water nymph of Arcadia. As she was returning from the hunt one day when met her. To assist her escape, her sisters changed her into a reed. When the air blew through the reeds it produced a plaintive melody. The god, still infatuated, took some of the reeds because her could not identify which reed she became. He cut seven pieces, joined them side-by-side in gradually decreasing lengths and formed the musical instrument bearing the name of his beloved Syrinx (or Pan-pipe). In this striking Cameo (c. 1870-90) Pan wears the pipes on one side and a goat skin on the other. As with many mythological figures, the Victorians adopted a kinder, less sexual side. His goat ears are visible on one side and his horns have been replaced with grapes so as to not offend Victorian ladies with such a pagan image. This Cameo of Pan is carved in high relief and his face is very realistic. In the late 19th Century interest in Pan remained and became the symbol of romantic imagination. Between 1890 and 1926 there was an “astonishing resurgence in interest in the Pan motif”. He appears in poetry, in novels and children's books and is refined in the character – Peter Pan. There is a C clasp, extended pin stem and the original safety chain is still in place. The setting is marked “9c”. This is truly a Cameo for a collector to hang on to – it will elevate any collection!

Condition: Excellent. There are two striations in his forehead. Does not affect the value since they are only visible under magnification.
Size: Medium. 1 3/4” high, 1 1/2” wide, 5/8” deep at the head.
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DIANA, GODDESS OF ALL THE WILD ( Victorian Jewelry Shell Cameo Brooch ): Diana, Goddess of the Hunt, was a beautiful wild maiden, a virgin huntress bearing a silver bow and a quiver of golden arrows. Here she is depicted in a Victorian Shell Cameo Brooch of exquisite delicacy and refinement. (c. 1860-70) Appealing and feminine, Diana was the daughter of Zeus and the twin sister of Apollo, the Sun god. She was also the protector of children and young animals. Her association with Selene, the Moon goddess, gave her the mark of the crescent moon. I love this carving of Diana! Shown from the waist up, the detail work in the bow and arrow are perfect. Her face is extremely well formed and the draperies of her chiton gown swirl around her and complement the shape of the shell beautifully. The shell is a pretty, soft caramel color and has been signed on the back. The original bezel and setting have been completely re-gilded. The side view shows the natural shape of the shell. The original C-clasp retains the extended pin stem. She is a real beauty! Condition: Excellent. A few light striations not visible except when held up to light. Size: 2” high, 1 5/8” wide. SOLD!


ATHENA IN HORSE HELMET ( Victorian Jewelry Shell Cameo Brooch / Pin ): Incredibly fine delicate carving sets this Victorian Cameo Brooch head and shoulders above most of the rest. (c. 1870-80) This is Athena, the daughter of Zeus, who had an unusual birth – she emerged fully grown and armed from the head of Zeus. (Don’t ask!) She was the fierce Greek goddess of War, but also the goddess of Wisdom. Athena in battle costume presented an awesome figure. Her sumptuous helmet has a Greek sphinx at the top and winged horse on the side. Across the front of the helmet three tiny horses race just above her brow and a horse hair crest tapers down to a tail at the back of her neck. She wears a short armor breast plate with the head of Medusa at the center. (One of Athena’s attributes, the snake, is pictured along with her spear.) Athena was a virgin goddess and her main temple was the Parthenon. Notice the fine triple row necklace and the lovely drop earring. Details everywhere you look! This breathtaking Antique Cameo is set in a simple jeweler tested 15KT gold rimmed setting that does not distract from the intricate carving. The master carvers mark and the number 411 are visibly etched on the back (Seen only in reflected light.) There is a C clasp closure with a slightly elongated pin stem. The tiny loop at the bottom is for a safety chain. You will fall in love with this dramatic multitasking goddess. Truly a classic Cameo that you can later pass on to your family as a remembrance. Condition: Excellent. The shell is naturally shaded in color and slightly curved. The back has the usual marks of gold testing done by careless dealers. The real value is in the Cameo carving! Size: 2” high, 1 5/8” wide. SOLD!
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CLASSICAL HARDSTONE BEAUTY ( Victorian Jewelry Hardstone Cameo Brooch ): I am so pleased to be able to offer you this exquisite hardstone Cameo brooch. (c. 1870) The Cameo has become known as a classic form of jewelry. Some of the best and most highly prized Cameos are made from hardstone. (They date back to ancient Rome.) These Cameos are more difficult and time-consuming to fashion and require a great deal of skill with lathe-held tools. Cameo experts point out that hardstones are not “carved”, but more correctly engraved. This carnelian hardstone Cameo depicts the profile of a classical female beauty. Truly a miniature sculpture complete down to the tiniest detail. Richly attired and serene in expression this beautiful brooch is outstanding in its entirety. Bezel set in a 14KT gold Etruscan Revival mount with scrolled wirework and bead decoration, the setting compliments the Cameo perfectly. The dainty beadwork at the top of the frame is offset by the lush scrollwork that encircles the bottom of the setting. The pin back appears to be original and closes tightly with an unusually elaborate C clasp. This Cameo combines art and jewelry into one perfect piece of Victorian excellence. Condition: Excellent. No damage to Cameo or setting. Size: 2” high, 1 3/8” wide, 1/2” deep.
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VICTORIAN CUPID KICKS UP HIS HEELS: ( Victorian Shell Cameo Brooch ): This delightful hand carved Victorian Cameo Brooch gives us a view of a playful Cupid (or a Cherub) set in a 9 KT yellow gold simple bezel setting. Playing the lyre and dancing for joy, his draperies fly around him as his outspread wings allow him to barely touch the ground. This cameo dates from 1880 - 1890 and fastens with a C clasp. It also has a small ring at the top for a safety chain or - with the addition of a jump ring - allows the cameo to be worn as a pendant. Full of joy and exuberance, this finely carved little fellow is irresistible! Condition: Excellent. There are a few small, almost invisible stress lines in the shell, which can only be seen when held up to a strong light source. Size: 2" high, 1 5/8" wide.

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