- Material: Sardonyx Shell, 15k gold tested.
- Size: brooch 1 7/8" by 1 5/8" only cameo is 1 3/8" by 1 1/8".
- Date and Origin: Circa 1860 Italy.
- Conditions: Immaculate, a slightest natural shell line, not visible by naked eye, only visible when cameo is backlit, mentioned for accuracy, otherwise mint.
A Museum Quality cameo brooch mounted in high carat gold with granulated decoration, circa 1860, depicting the Goddess Vesta. The goddess is depicted with a brazier, indicative of her role as keeper of the sacred fire of Rome. Vesta, daughter of Saturn, was the virgin goddess of hearth, home and family and Vestales, Vestal Virgins, acted as guardians of her sacred flame in Roman temples. The carving is fine, conveying a sense of movement in Vesta's flowing hair and robes. This subject, already seen other times, has a strange peculiarity, the figure of Goddess Vesta is taken from one of most famous painting by Raphael, "The Triumph of Galatea", the painting is shown below. Cameos artists just turned her on the other side, in the painting her head is turned to the left and her arms turned to the right, in the cameo, as you can see, both sides are changed. In the painting she's driving a clam shell chariot led by two dolphins, in the Vesta depiction she's holding a brazier. I really can't imagine why several cameos carvers were inspired by the Raphael painting to depict the Goddess Vesta but have to say that the result is really amazing. The pictures really don't give any justice to this cameo and it really is better when seen in person. Some details are really amazing like the chains which keep the brazier, her flowing robe and her hair, her lovely face. A true masterpiece for any collector.