Athena
 
 
  • Material : Cornelian Shell, silver..
  • Size: 1 7/8” by 1 1/2”.
  • Date and Origin: Ca 1880, Italy. Size: 
  • Conditions: Frame is a little bit bent in some points but is not noticeable, there is a small trace of soldering on the back under the small ring used to hang a safety chain.  The frame has a larger edge on the back do I can't see well the back edges of the shell and can't say is there is anything of wrong.
More than excellent quality shell cameo depicting Athena in a Renaissance style. Athena is not often depicted in this way so when I found it I took it immediately even if it just a step or two under the museum quality that I always buy. The carving is very well made and the details are really crisp and very well rendered and detailed. A true collector piece. Even this one is better seen in person than through the pictures. Another stunning piece in fine condition.  Rarest cameo and subject very desirable collectors' piece.
A bit of history:
In the Greek mythology Athena, daughter of Zeus, was the goddess of  Wisdom, of the Weaving, of the Arts, and, presumably, of the noblest sides of the War, while the violence and the cruelty were part of  the dominion of Ares. The sacred symbols were the owl and the olive. She is almost always represented with a helmet or a shield and with the Aegis (a short armour with fringes) with in the center the head of  Medusa given by Perseus to Athena in sign of thanks for the help had when he faced the Medusa. Athena never had an husband or lover and for this she was known like Athena Parthenos (the Virgin Athena), from which the name of the most famous temple dedicated to her, the Parthenon on Athen's Acropolis.