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HOME : Jewelry and Seals : Archive : Gold Ring with Ivory Cameo of Arethusa
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Gold Ring with Ivory Cameo of Arethusa - FJ.6345
Origin: Europe
Circa: 1700 AD to 1800 AD

Collection: Jewelry
Medium: Gold and Ivory

Additional Information: sold

Location: United States
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Commercial demand stimulates creativity; and this happy combination of circumstances certainly found expression in the eighteenth century between engravers and lovers of antiquities. This was a time when the nobility and wealthy classes acquired a passion for all things ancient, perhaps most particularly those objects which could be worn. Artisans were encouraged to learn techniques of engraving used by ancient masters, and even to excel them.

This very lovely cameo shows the fruits of a master carver's talent. Here we see the sublime head of Arethusa, who was a Naiad or water Nymph. The legend about her says she was a follower of the goddess Artemis, and like her, she scorned love. Having one day been spied by the river god Alpheus, he immediately fell in love with her. She fled his advances and sped away to Syracuse, and then the isle of Ortygia, with the river god in hot pursuit. Unable to escape him, she was changed into a spring. Grieve stricken, Alpheus mingled his waters with hers enabling them to be together forever. Another version says he was prevented from doing so by the earth opening up to protect Arethusa. In either case, this beautiful Nymph was a favorite of ancient Syracuse and appears on their coinage with dolphins swimming around her head. The person who wears this ring has the courage to be different, and enjoys making a bold statement impressive to gods and goddesses alike.
- (FJ.6345)


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