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Rare Superior Hand Carved Shell Cameo of Dionysus


Dating to the mid Victorian era, a splendid quality hand carved shell cameo of Dionysus, set in a fine carved frame of 15ct yellow Gold and mounted as a brooch. A superb choice for a collector or lover of history, this piece remains in wonderful original condition and has all to recommend. 

The son of Zeus, Dionysus (or Bacchus) was considered by the Greeks the god of fertility and wine. Young Dionysus, here depicted as the god of fertility evidenced by the ram and staff alongside the oak leaves and pine cone wreath, carved by a master craftsman (most likely in Rome, the historic centre of the craft) from Sardonyx Shell (Cassis Madagascarensis). An incredible tour de force in the art, the exquisite carving is three dimensional and of wonderful fineness and delicacy with each aspect picked out beautifully, from the tiny pine cones upon the wreath, the curls in the hair to the handsomeness of his profile. When held to the light, the profile is lit by the glowing naturally shaded caramel of the exterior shell. Divine. 

 The 15ct Gold frame is generously carved with scrolling leafery and a double twisted rope edging. The whole piece measures 4cm by 3.2cm, the cameo itself 3cm by 2.5cm. Closes with a traditional 'C' clasp.