Medusa
 
 
  • Material : Sardonyx Shell, 9k gold tested.
  • Size: just over 1 6/8" by 1 1/2".
  • Date and Origin: Circa 1870 Italy, frame is English.
  • Conditions:
  • Two very slight and short natural lines in the shell, lines are visible when cameo is backlit, not visible from the front by naked eye. Traces of soldering close to the C clasp, pin is a bit bent but still work fine.
  • There is an antique case which comes with this cameo, I'm not totally sure that it is just the original to the cameo but I bought it just in the box.
Museum Quality cameo depicting the gorgon Medusa. The carving is superb and all the details are masterly made. A very expressive cameo showing a suffering Medusa even if her face has, at the same time, a serene expression. Both feelings are present on her face, as she would like to express her pain for not being a human being anymore and the serenity that the death could end her pains. The carving is very relieved from the background and shows the features of a real face. Her perfect Greek nose, her full lips perfectly designed, her curly hair so perfectly rendered, everything in this cameo is superb. A really lovely cameo carved magnificently with a wonderful Medusa. A must have piece.
A bit of history:
Medusa is a  character of Greek's mythology, she was one of three Gorgons, the only one that was mortal. Poseidon fell in love with Medusa and one night he took her in a temple consecrated to Athena to consummate their love. Athena offended, transformed Medusa's hair into snakes and again everyone that had looked Medusa's eyes would have been petrified. Medusa was killed by Perseus who cut her head looking at her through a bright shield received from Athena. From Medusa's body came out Pegasus, the mythic winged horse, and Crisaore generated with the union with Poseidon. For this reason Medusa's head was given by Perseus to Athena who put it in the center of her aegis. Aegis used by Athena, is a fringed armour or a shield with Medusa's head in the center.