Dating to c.1850-1860, this is a particularly beautiful early Victorian brooch depicting Ceres, Goddess of the harvest!
Measuring 2 3/4" x 2 1/4" in its decorative gilt frame, this extra-large cameo is crafted from Bull's mouth conch, and boasts a highly-detailed half-length carving of Ceres, the Goddess of the harvest. Ceres faces left but looks over her shoulder, almost as if expecting to see her daughter Persephone, who was tricked by Hades into living all but three months of each year in the Underworld. It was Ceres who secured her periodic freedom, and she awaited her daughter's brief return every winter.
The goddess is dressed in a classical gown, rests one arm on a sack of grain, and holds a sheaf of wheat in her left hand. Her long hair is tied back in a fillet and is decorated with wheat sheaves while long locks curl over her shoulders. She rests against a wall, looking out into the distance. Notice how skillfully the artist who carved this piece used the reddish layer of the shell for areas of texture and depth - truly the sign of a talented carver!
This cameo has survived the past 150+ years in excellent, all-original condition. The cameo is securely claw-mounted into its custom-made gilt frame, and is free of cracks or damage. The frame is also 100% intact, and has built up a lush "bloom" to the gilding over the generations. The cameo retains its original "T and C" clasp, and a previous owner has added a stickpin guard to the pin (easily removed if the new owner desires).
This substantial and charming cameo jewel is a wonderful example of an early Victorian cameo, and is highly wearable today. It is truly beautiful to behold, and will light up a lapel or sweater! It would also make a stellar holiday gift for any lady who collects the best in antique cameos. Do not miss this lovely jewel - it is priced right!
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