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Victorian Cameo Brooch of Mercury

Victorian cameo brooch of the Roman god Mercury. (J3560)

Mercury Cameo!

Some antique jewels are just Hot!   They have a presence, a certain "gotch ya" quality, that reaches out and captures your heart.   This lovely mid Victorian cameo (circa 1870) of the Roman god Mercury has that irresistible magic.

The cameo is carved in shell and set in a classic mid-Victorian frame.   Mercury served as the messenger of the gods (note the wings on his helmet), as well as the God of Commerce and the Market.   On his right shoulder Mercury rests the Caduceus (a winged staff with two entwined snakes), the traditional symbol of a herald.   As Zeus' messenger Mercury was said to "fly as fleet as thought to do his bidding."

The cameo is bezel-set in an 18kt gold frame.   The gold beads and twisted-rope borders give the piece a weightiness that is characteristic of mid-Victorian gold work. When you consider that this jewel was painstakingly crafted by hand, with each decorative element individually positioned and soldered, you gain a great respect for the Victorian goldsmith who created this miniature masterpiece.

Cost:  Although this brooch has sold,  you will find many more beautiful brooches in the Antique Brooch Gallery.

Measurements:   This striking cameo brooch is 0.968" wide and 1.125" high.


This side-view lets you get a sense of the depth of the cameo and how the sculptor strove to achieve a three dimensional appearance.   The wonderful subject of the cameo, the carver's attention to detail, and the work's overall sculptural quality suggest a masterful carver who shared with us a love and passion for his work.

In this side-view you can also see the height and strength of the bezel which was created to hold and protect the cameo.

You should also note the slight crazing of the cameo just to the right of Mercury's head.


Side-view of Mercury cameo showing depth and three dimensionality. (J3560)


This truly special jewel was the result of an anonymous collaboration between two masterful Victorian craftsmen - the cameo carver and the goldsmith.

Below, the mastery and care of the goldsmith is further demonstrated.   A rear-view of the brooch shows how the jewel was sturdily constructed to provide a secure home for the cameo.   A "C" clasp secures the pin stem and a small bail at the top allows the jewel to be worn as a pendant.   The pin stem appears to be original, although it is not gold.   As always, the back of a well-made jewel is as beautiful as the front.

Rear-view of Mercury cameo showing the high quality of gold work. (J3560)

In addition to being the God of Commerce and the Market, Mercury invented the lyre, presided over wrestling and gymnastic exercises,  and, on the dark side,  was said watch over thieves.   On the day he was born, he is alleged to have stolen Apollo's herds.   Zeus made him promptly return the animals and Mercury made restitution to Apollo by presenting him with a lyre, which he had just invented.   Gosh, all this and good messenger service as well.....watch out UPS.

If you are as captivated by this lovely cameo as we are, dispatch a fleet messenger.   We will then "fly as fleet as thought to do your bidding."

Here are a few more elegant jewels from the past ...

Hans Brassler star brooch. (J9329)Whiteside & Blank blue guilloche enamel and diamond cufflinks. (J9227)Art Nouveau sapphire stickpin. (J9309)



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