Victorian Lava Cameo Swivel BroochIrene Byrne & Co
A stunning Victorian lava cameo brooch of a winged angel holding a ram. The lava cameo is set in a highly decorative pinchbeck frame, a material used in the Victorian period as an alternative for gold. Pinchbeck is made from an alloy of copper and zinc and is highly collectable today.
The Victorians in the later part of the century were fascinated with archeological expeditions and as a result, jewellery of the time depicted mythical characters. Lava cameos were bought by wealthy families who travelled throughout Europe. Extracted from the archaeological dig at Pompeii, most of these cameos are highly detailed being carved by master Italian carvers and depicting Greek and Roman scenes. A woman or man who purchased one of these souvenirs from their travels was seen to be worldly, a person of good taste and culture.
The RAM Symbol - The Ram in many cultures has played an important role in both mythology and religion. First appearing in Egypt to depict the God Amon, it has also been used symbolically through Celtic mythology to represent fertility and rebirth. In Greek mythology, the Golden Fleece was a prized procession for Jason, who was promised an inheritance if he fetched the rams fleece, a seemingly impossible task. The Ram is considered to be a symbol determination, action, initiative, and leadership. Well known jewellers of the time that were fascinated by the ram include Castellani and Ernesto Pierret.
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Material: Pinchbeck and Vesuvian Lava Stone
Measurements: 55.00 x 62.00 mm
Victorian Period (1837 - 1901):
The Victorian Period defined by none other than Queen Victoria herself, had three stages - the Romantic, the Grand and the Aesthetic.
It was during the Romantic era that Queen Victoria married her Prince, Albert. Sentimental motifs such as; hearts, lover’s knots, flowers, bows, crescent moons and particularly serpents (which was subject to Queen Victoria’s engagement ring which represented enduring love) became extremely popular in jewellery design. Cameos, Enamelling and the use of bright coloured gemstones such as; garnets, amethysts, turquoise, pearls and diamonds gave way to the creation of jewellery that was beginning to speak a symbolic language of its own.
The Grand era was a sombre period which saw Queen Victoria mourning the death of her beloved husband Albert. It encompassed 20 years during which time Victoria would only wear black and mourning jewellery. As a result the Whitby Jet industry flourished and onyx and deeper coloured garnets rose in popularity. Rings, lockets and brooches were commissioned with compartments for a lock of a loved one’s hair and were often engraved with the person’s name, age and date of death.
The Aesthetic era saw a return to the light-heartedness of the Romantic Era. The discoveries being made through archaeology led to an Etruscan Revival with Greek, Roman and Renaissance influences becoming apparent in jewellery design as well as symbols of good luck and fortune.