Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Mastery of Design: Ring with a Cameo of Demeter, 1799

Cameo Ring
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection 
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

In the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, the fashion for cameos prompted jewelers to take ancient carvings and set them in new gold mounts and bezels. This ring from the Royal Collection is a nifty example of that trend.

The cameo of white and brown striated sardonyx is an ancient Roman piece from the First Century B.C. It was mounted in this gold ring with an open bezel in 1799 and first recorded in the Royal Collection in 1872, likely a gift to Queen Victoria. The cameo depicts a half-figure of a woman in left profile. She’s holding two stalks of corn and almost certainly represents Demeter. 

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