Rarest Temple of Hera Cameo
Brief but due Introduction
Looking at this extraordinary cameo, one of a kind, is like admiring a miniature painting of a great painter of the past who with his pastel colours is able to depict on the painting the explosion of pink and orange shades of a wonderful Mediterranean sunset on an ancient mythological scene. The presence of the peasant who behind his animal is ploughing up his field with centuries old gestures and tools, still today used in some rural areas, makes this artwork without time, enhancing with emotions and meanings that everyone with his own delicacy of feeling is able to catch and to appreciate. That which makes of this cameo a true artwork is the artistic sensibility of carver's soul before of his hand's skill. Forgive me for the comparison, but like Michelangelo personally looked for a marble block with already inside his artwork and for him, simply, all he had to do was to take it out, so in this way, this great master carver between hundreds of shell chose the one in which he already saw his work, then, with his great skill dosing the carving on the several shell layers, was able to take out the several shades of colour to make, in a few inches, an artwork rich of images and emotions. Really spectacular are the variations of colour and the emotions that this piece can give if you put it in different angles, positions and intensity of light, especially if you hold it up to a light.
  • Material : Pink Shell, 18k gold tested.
  • Size: 2 2/32" by 1 7/8".
  • Date and Origin: Circa 1870 Italy, probably brought to England then.
  • Conditions: A tiniest cut in the first edge of the frame, not noticeable, otherwise mint, original fitted box.
  • Note: The light lines you can see on the surface, above and below the tress, are  natural lines of the shell that has become a bit darker with the age, almost invisible by a naked eye..
More than Museum Quality Cameo and rarest cameo depicting a capriccio of ruins, delicately carved in such a way that when held up to the light reveals the sun setting over water, within a textured gold frame of engraved floral and motifs. The ruins perhaps are the ones of the Temple of Hera (called also Heraion). This cameo is with no doubt the most rare I have ever had, because, even if the subject is rarest and never seen until now, the technique of the carving is something of outstanding. The carver has created an optical illusion so that when the cameo is held up to the light you have just the impression to see a real sunset trough the cameo! The carver has carved the sun engraving the shell deeply and leaving only a thin strata of shell, again he engraved deeply even the water just in its center. When the the light  goes across the sun there is just the illusion of a ray of light that is reflected on the water. Look as the carver used the pink color of the shell to evidence the light of the sunset, the sky and everything in the scene, those warm color just give you the idea of a sunset over a sea, where everything is wrapped in a pink soft and evanescent light, it is just real! What can I say about the frame? It is another work of art, a motif of leaves in different gold color, and rarest thing, the edges of the frame are faceted, like a diamond.  The cameo is in its original fitted box that bears the label of the jeweller, I have checked and that jeweller still is located at the same address where he was over 200 years ago!  This is an incredible work of art, very detailed cameo, carved by an artist. Rarest cameo very desirable collectors' piece.
A bit of history:
A Heraion refers to a temple dedicated to the Greek goddess Hera. Several temples of Antiquity, beginning with the Heraion of Samos, were dedicated to Hera. They are dispersed in the Mediterranean Basin and in the Near East:
  • Heraion of Samos, the most important of the sanctuaries dedicated to Hera;
  • Heraion of Argos, in Argos Prefecture, near Nafplion;
  • Heraion of Perachora (Hera Akraia and Hera Limenia), near Corinth;
  • Temple of Hera (Olympia);
  • Heraion of Lucania, in Magna Graecia;
  • Heraion of Paestum;
  • Heraion of Selinunte.
Heraion is also the name of the sea-side village near the temple dedicated to Hera in Samos.