A fabulous, large Victorian carved shell cameo pendant circa 1850 depicting Zeus (the Roman Jupiter), king of the gods and supreme ruler of the skies in Greek mythology. He is portrayed as a handsome, regal deity with curly hair and beard, his head crowned with a wreath of oak leaves. The image goes back to classical times, appearing on ancient Greek coins. This cameo is of amazing quality, juxtaposing very intricate, lush detail in his curls and wreath with the most sensitive definition of his facial features. His lips alone show exceptionally skilful, intuitive carving.
The cameo is set into an unmarked gold frame, plain on the front and with a crimped edge on the back, that has tested as 18 carat gold. At the top is a fixed loop for threading a chain or cord. The substantial, but relatively simple mount perfectly complements the magnificent carving.
It is in excellent condition for the age with only slight signs of wear, the cameo shell having minor internal lines faintly seen when held to light. The carving is still wonderfully crisp.
Including the suspension loop at the top it measures 56mm x 40 mm (2 3/16" x 1 9/16") approx. Not including the loop, the oval mount measures 48 mm (nearly 1 15/16") tall approx.
Technically and artistically this is a marvellous cameo - a highly sculptural miniature work of art that is a joy to wear and would enhance any collection.
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