Allegory of the Night
  • Material: Sardonyx Shell, 15K gold tested .
  • Size: 2 3/8" by 6/8", only cameo is 1 7/8" by 6/8".
  • Date and Origin: Circa 1860 Italy, mounting is English.
  • Conditions: Shell is mint, a small trace of soldering on the back where the clasp is fixed, pin and clasp are probably later than the original mounting as I think that this cameo was once an earring, a small gold tab on the left side is lost . Clasp is probably not gold.
Excellent quality cameo depicting The Allegory of the Night. The goddess Selene is depicted with her main attributes, as the poppies in her hair and the owl holding poppies in its pawns,  moon and star are other two attributes of Selene.  This is a lovely cameo well carved and  the details are well rendered. The pictures really don't give any justice to this cameo. This is another lovely cameo at an affordable price.
A bit of History:
Selene, Goddess of the Moon, daughter of Hyperion. her assignment is to bring the moonlight to the humans driving a cart drawn from oxen or from horses that runs after the solar one, in many representations. Generally described like a beautiful woman with pale face that wears long, flowing, white or silver robe and that has on her head a waxing moon and a torch in her hand. In the Greek-Roman mythology tradition the Moon, thanks to the mutability of its aspect that makes it unique between the stars, has been associated to three divinity and tied to three its "events". Full moon, New moon and Waxing moon. Life metaphor (full moon), death (new moon) rebirth (waxing moon). Since time immemorial these three lunar figures have represented the cycle of  life involving apparently heterogeneous phenomena  like the birth, the death, the fertility, the femininity, the immortality. Selene, (from Selas - Greek) means splendour.