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C1830 18K Shell Cameo Swag Necklace

C1830 18K Shell Cameo Swag Necklace

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Directory: Antiques: Decorative Art: Jewelry: Continental: Pre 1837 VR: Item # 1426245
Moylan-Smelkinson/The Spare Room
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P.O. Box 4684
Baltimore, Maryland 21212
tel. 410-435-3738

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Antique 18K neoclassical carved shell cameo necklace with ten graduated bezel-set cameos each depicting a different mythological scene. Each individually carved cameo is linked to the analogous cameo with triple swags of trace-link 18K chain. Closer inspection of the triplicate chains reveal that each chain in the set of three are different lengths so as to drape the neck in a perfect downward curve. Closer inspection also reveals each of the four inside pairs of cameos are proper mirror images, appropriately since each scene is slightly different, they are not identical. The largest cameo serves as the principal point of focus where the eye naturally rests. Such details are what make this festoon necklace such an outstanding example of neoclassical design. Each of the various scenes show classical mythological depictions: Cupid riding in a chariot race with bigas; a seated Venus handing the torch to Cupid; Cupid drinking from the cantharus; the winged Cupid with his dog; Nike riding off to victory in her chariot of war horses; Cupid in a chariot pulled by a lion. Each cameo has a different carving and a different meaning. This lovely festoon necklace was made in Italy in the early 19th Century for the European market where It was likely sold as a souvenir piece to Europeans while on the Grand tour. Grand Tour travelers spent a longer time in Italy, a highly cultural country famous for its art and historic buildings. Similar gold festoon necklaces can be found in the Hull Grundy collection in the British Museum. Our necklace measures approximately 15 1/4 inches in length with the largest cameo measuring 1 inch wide and .75 inches from top to bottom, while the remaining cameos are progressively slightly smaller.