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Victorian lava stone cameo depicting woman triumphing over Venice and Rome (?)

We see a woman triumphing over a winged lion and an eagle. Although we are not sure, and all suggestions are welcome, we think the lion could stand for Venice and the eagle for Rome. What the woman would be standing for we do not know (yet).

Every once in a while we receive information about our pieces, coming from specialists from all over the world. Specifically concerning this stunning cameo, we were informed of the following explanation of what it most probably represents:

“The winged lion is indeed a representing Venice. The woman is stroking it, like petting a house cat, favoring it, rather than triumphing over it. The bird that has her foot on its neck looks more like a vulture than an eagle. However, if the carver did intend an eagle, it is probably meant to stand for Rome. The woman herself appears to be wearing a ‘mural crown’ seen on the goddess Cybele, the Great Mother. She was adopted by the Romans as their protectress, but then spreading out to represent many places: her crown the defensive walls. She is associated with the more allegorical figures of Tyche/Fortuna, and you will see some representations of them with turreted crowns. So conclusively, this cameo is most probably a scene of Cybele/Fortuna having successfully defeated an enemy -maybe Rome- and restoring Venice to peace and prosperity.”

Antique jewelry object group: pendant

Condition: excellent condition
  -  (more info on our condition scale)

Country of origin: Although it does not carry any legible control marks we believe this to be of Italian origin.

Style: Victorian - Victorian decorative arts refers to the style of decorative arts during the Victorian era. The Victorian era is known for its eclectic revival and interpretation of historic styles and the introduction of cross-cultural influences from the middle east and Asia in furniture, fittings, and Interior decoration. Victorian design is widely viewed as having indulged in a regrettable excess of ornament. The Arts and Crafts movement, the aesthetic movement, Anglo-Japanese style, and Art Nouveau style have their beginnings in the late Victorian era.
  -  See also: Victorian or more info on styles

Style specifics: The Romantic Victorian Period - Experts divide the reign of Queen Victoria, also called The Victorian era (1837-1901) in to three peiods of about twenty years each; The Romantic Victorian Period (1837 - 1860), The Grand Victorian Period (1860 - 1880), and the Late or Aesthetic Victorian Period (1880 – 1901).

We consider this to be of the Romantic Victorian Period. This period covers the coronation of Victoria as Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, and her marriage to King Albert and their love, their devotion to their marriage and to their country are the sources of inspiration for this period. The jewels of this period are made of intricate carvings, special techniques where the enamel is subtly worked. These techniques allowed to give the jewel a certain opulence with less precious metal needed. As precious metals were really rare at that time. Highly favored (semi-) precious stones in this period are amethyst, coral, garnets, seed pearls and turquoises. The connotation is obviously sentimental, symbolic and romantic with reminiscent Gotic and/or Renaissance patterns and an abundant use of motifs like anchors, birds, branches, crosses, hearts and snakes.

Period: ca. 1850
  -  (events and facts in 1850)

Source of inspiration: Mythology

Theme: Woman thriumphing over a winged lion and an eagle

Material: 18K red gold
  -  (more info on precious metals)

Technique: Cameo is a method of carving, or an item of jewellery or vessel made in this manner. It features a raised (positive) relief image. There are three main materials for Cameo carving; Shells or Agate (called a Hardstone cameo), and glass. Cameos can be produced by setting a carved relief, such as a portrait, onto a background of a contrasting colour. This is called an assembled cameo. Alternately, a cameo can be carved directly out of a material with integral layers or banding, such as (banded) agate or layered glass, where different layers have different colours. Sometimes dyes are used to enhance these colours. Cameos are often worn as jewellery. Stone cameos of great artistry were made in Greece dating back as far as the 6th century BC. They were very popular in Ancient Rome, and one of the most famous stone cameos from this period is the Gemma Claudia made for the Emperor Claudius. The technique has since enjoyed periodic revivals, notably in the early Renaissance, and again in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

Extra information: Lavastone jewelry - Lavastone jewelry, usually a mounted cameo or intaglio, made of the lava from Mt Vesuvius and carved in Italy. The pieces are of a variety of colours, usually pale shades or greys and browns, and the surface is matt. It was a popular form of inexpensive jewelry of the 19th century.

Hallmarks: No trace.
  -  (more info on hallmarks)

Dimensions: height 7.05 cm (2.78 inch)

Weight: 20.60 gram (13.25 dwt)

Reference Nº: 11158-0017

Copyright photography: Adin, fine antique jewelry

See also our:
jewelry with birds, jewelry with animals, jewelry with human motifs, mythological jewelry, red gold jewelry, latest acquisitions,
antique jewelry, estate jewelry, vintage jewelry or modern jewelry

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What is antique jewelry? - What is estate jewelry? - What is vintage jewelry?

Victorian lava stone cameo depicting woman triumphing over Venice and Rome (?)
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