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Glorious Hand-Carved Shell Cameo of Medusa Surrounded by Cobalt Blue Enameling and Paste Stones ca. 1840

Glorious Hand-Carved Shell Cameo of Medusa Surrounded by Cobalt Blue Enameling and Paste Stones ca. 1840

Regular price $4,500.00 USD
Regular price $4,500.00 USD Sale price $4,500.00 USD
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Description : A fabulous early Victorian artisan quality, hand-carved shell cameo featuring Medusa in a heavy gilt silver setting. This museum quality cameo is surrounded by beautiful cobalt enamel and two rows of glorious hand-cut paste stones. The enameling is punctuated by forget-me-not flowers, thus adding to the romance of this piece. Her face is carved to be delicate and sweet, depicting a Grecian beauty. Her hair is masterfully carved with three-dimensional snakes and features ethereal wings. Despite her status as mythological monster, the artisans who made her bestowed an unmatched beauty upon her. 

The whole pin measures an impressive 5.5cm by 4.5cm. There is some slight chipping to the enamel that is consistent with the age of the piece. The clasp has been replaced with a locking clasp, making this hefty lady much more secure to wear.

While the workmanship is phenomenal, the subject matter is sublime. Medusa’s tale was first elaborated upon by Greek poet Hesiod, writing in the eighth and seventh centuries B.C.E.. According to him, and others later on in Greek mythology, Medusa was once a beautiful, winged priestess of Athena who attracted the attention of Poseidon, and through no fault of her own, was punished by Athena for an unavoidable situation. Athena, therefore, in a fit of rage, turned the once beautiful priestess into a half-human, half-gorgon (from the word gorgos meaning terrible) with writhing snakes for hair, and a gaze that turned anyone who dared look at her into stone. Eventually, to free his mother, Perseus was sent to kill Medusa, the winged Gorgon. Armed with gifts from the gods, including a mirror-finished shield, Perseus decapitated Medusa, and kept her head as a weapon in future adventures.


Item Number : 6760-213

Category : PIN

Brand : MEDUSA

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