A wonderful antique Victorian classical cameo in a khaki-coloured lava depicting a bust of the Greek messenger god, Hermes (Mercury in Roman mythology). The detailed carving shows excellent depth and dates from around 1870. Mercury is wearing his signature winged traveller’s hat (petasos) and cloak (chlamys) over one shoulder. He also has his other main attribute - the caduceus or snake-entwined staff - topped with a pair of wings. As well as being a herald’s staff, it is also a symbol of trade and prosperity.
The cameo is mounted in a gilt metal setting with a closed back and has a small ring at the top. Currently attached to a safety chain, it could also be worn as a pendant on a chain. The cameo is in very good condition for its age with minimal wear, just one or two barely noticeable nibbles, mainly to the brim of his hat. The mount has some light wear and surface scratches. The ring looks to be a later addition.
Not including the ring at the top, the oval mount measures 30mm x 26mm (1 3/16" x 1") approx.
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