- Material: Sardonyx shell, 14k gold marked.
- Size: 2 3/8" by 2" cameo itself is 1 6/8" by 1 3/8".
- Date and Origin: Circa 1860 Italy.
- Conditions: Immaculate, only one shortest natural shell line just under her right shoulder, a few traces of glue on the back at the internal edges of the frame,mentioned for accurary otherwise mint.
Highest Museum Quality cameo of a rarest subject, Goddess Athena wearing an helmet that is in the form of Medusa head. In so many years of trade this is the first time that I see this subject and this one is really out of this world. The Goddess is here represented in all of her beauty, the carving is perfect and perfecty proportioned. All the details are amazingly made. Look at the wonderful pictures, simply incredible. Her face so pretty but fierce at the same time, her long curly hair that falls on her shoulders and around her long and armonious neck. The perfect and stunning helmet depicting Medusa with closed eyes, her suffering face and snakes as her hair. Everything in this cameo is pure art, each detail superbly made. A real Museum piece.
This cameo is after a bronze medallion of Athena Promachos, goddess of strategic warfare, wearing a helmet in the form of Medusa. Her arm raised to throw a javelin. A decoration from a formal chariot used for parades. Hellenistic, 2nd C. BCE. Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum.
The frame is another work of art, in the Castellani style, it is made of solid gold and weighs circa 25 grams. This brooch is a pendant too and the bail can be hidden on the back when worn as a brooch. This is another more than masterly carved cameo, a treasure for all the collectors.
Please note that through the pictures can be seen two yellowish spots, one close to her nose and the other one on the right side of her chest, those are natural veins of the shell. To carve this three dimensional figure the carver used the knot of the shell which is high reliefed and just the right piece when a front face figure has to be carved, the knot has always yellowish veins in it which comes out when the shell is carved. This is not a defect and those spots are really barely visible looking at the cameo by naked eye.