Rarest Cameo Brooch - Nike or Iris
  • Material: Sardonyx shell, 15k tested.
  • Size:  2 2/8" by 1 7/8" only cameo is 2" by 1 5/8".
  • Date and origin: Circa 1880 Italy.
  • Conditions: Excellent, a few internal natural shell lines, only visible when the cameo is backlit.
Excellent Quality cameo depicting a winged Goddess, I have not yet identified the subject which is rarest, I have never seen this subject before. This cameo is finely carved, the Goddess holds two doves in her hands, they could symbolize the peace or they could mean that the Goddess is Iris, the female messenger to the Gods. However not knowing yet the subject I'm writing below a bit of history about Nike and Iris. The Goddess face is pretty and serene, she's looking at doves with love. Her Greek nose is straight and long, perfect. Her dress is superbly made, have a look on the work made on her sleeve, truly lovely. She wears a turban but some lock of hair come out from it and they gives the impression to be real. Another rarest and highest Quality cameo, a more than desirable object for you all. 
A bit of history: NIKE
Nike is Victory. She is often seen in company of Athena, who never puts up with defeat. There are no myths attached to her, but she is an old goddess, born before the OLYMPIANS. She lives in Olympus close to Zeus, together with her brothers Zelus, Cratos and Bia. In Greek mythology Nike, meaning Victory, was a goddess who personified triumph throughout the ages of the ancient Greek culture. She is known as the Winged Goddess of Victory. The Roman equivalent was Victoria. Depending upon the time of various myths, she was described as the daughter of Pallas( Titan) and Styx (Water), and the sister of Cratos( Strength), Bia (Force), and of Zelus (Rivalry). Nike and her siblings all became described as attendants of Zeus when his cult gained the position of the dominant deity of the Greek pantheon and the roles of older deities were changed in new myths. According to classical (later) myth, Styx brought them to Zeus when the god was assembling allies for the Titan War against the older deities. Nike assumed the role of the divine charioteer, a role in which she often is portrayed in Classical Greek art. Nike is seen with wings in most statues and paintings, the reason for this, is to remind people that victory is fleeting. Most other winged deities in the Greek pantheon had shed their wings by Classical times. Nike is the Goddess of strength, speed, and victory. Nike was a very close acquaintance of Athena Goddess of wisdom. Nike is one of the most commonly portrayed figures on Greek and Roman coins.
IRIS was the goddess of the rainbow, the messenger of the Olympian gods. She was often represented as the handmaiden and personal messenger of Hera. Iris was a goddess of sea and sky--her father Thaumas "the wondrous" was a marine-god, and her mother Elektra "the amber" a cloud-nymph. For the coastal-dwelling Greeks, the rainbow's arc was most often seen spanning the distance beteween cloud and sea, and so the goddess was believed to replenish the rain-clouds with water from the sea. Iris had no distinctive mythology of her own. In myth she appears only as an errand-running messenger and was usually described as a virgin goddess. Her name contains a double meaning, being connected both with iris, "the rainbow," and eiris, "messenger."