This rather unusual cameo depicts Demeter, (the Roman Ceres), goddess of the agriculture and the harvest in Greek mythology. Dating from the early to mid-nineteenth century, its subject is carved in fairly low relief and to me she looks more Renaissance than classical in style. One shoulder is draped and she has a symbolic stalk of barley tucked into her hair, which she wears tied back and rolled into a bun. A single tendril escapes at the nape of her neck.
The cameo is set into an opulent yellow gold mount testing to a minimum of 18 carat purity. It is finely decorated with intricate chain- and rope detail all around the frame and has an inner rim of raised ornamental prongs surrounding the cameo. What makes it even more special is that it carries the distinguished warranty mark of the Vatican workshops on the clasp. The crossed keys of St Peter beneath the papal mitre can be clearly seen and there is also a lozenge-shaped stamp on the pin. This is too small for me to decipher apart from a letter 'v', probably the individual goldsmith's initial. Goldsmiths of the Vatican workshops were renowned for the quality of their work.
The brooch is in lovely condition for its age and the long hinged pin and 'c' clasp are working perfectly on the back. It measures approximately 43mm x 36mm (1 11/16" x 1 3/8”).
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