Here is a lovely late Victorian cameo depicting the Three Graces. The classical Greek myth of the Three Graces has been a pervasive theme in cameo-making for over 2,000 years.
Cameos have a storied history that dates as far back as the Roman Empire. A cameo is typically created by carving a high (or positive) relief image into stone, glass, coral or, in the case of this piece, shell.
This beauty is set in a sterling silver bezel which is surrounded by delicate cannetille filigree. The piece has been professionally tested to ensure the purity of the silver.
As is the case with most antique cameos, this one is carved in high (or positive) relief. The three female figures represent the Three Graces.
Each wears a flowing toga which is carved with lovely detail. They dance in a circle while the outside figures hold a laurel above the middle one's head.
The Three Graces (sometimes called Charites or the Gratiae) typically represent charm, beauty, human nature and fertility. It was believed that they were the daughters of Zeus and Eurynome, the Titan-goddess of water.
For millennia, and still today, the Graces continue to inspire artists all over the world.
The bezel is open so that the underside of the cameo can be seen.
You will find a classic roll-over safety brooch clasp on the reverse of the piece as well as a small applied placard which reads "Sterling".
The setting appears to have had a gold-vermeil finish at one point. There are traces of golden color showing on the reverse, though the metal has become quite patinated over the years.
Despite some oxidization and light wear, the brooch remains in good antique condition overall.
Measurements: Cameo in setting measures 1 7/8" tall, 1 ½" wide and ½" deep, Cameo (alone) measures 1 3/8" tall, 1 1/8" wide and approx. 1/8" deep Weight: 12.8 grams (0.45 oz)
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