Take This Dog To Work

Joden Girl

Baubles, Bling and Canine Things

Today is the 24th annual “Take Your Dog To Work Day”!  Originating in 1999, this is a day to celebrate America’s most beloved pets and hopefully encourage others to adopt a four-legged friend of their own.  Lovingly dubbed “man’s best friend”, dogs have long been the favored choice in companionship.  These faithful fur babies encourage an overall feeling of calm, help reduce stress and can even increase productivity in the workplace. 

Even in the 1800’s, Victorian ladies weren’t fully accessorized without a miniature dog.  These delightful creatures were small breeds that included the Schipperke, Skye, Maltese, and Yorkshire.  One of the most popular was, of course, the King Charles spaniel.  These playful pets charmed their companions with wide-set large dark eyes, a little snub nose and long fringe-like fur.

Depicted in this authentic Victorian brooch is one such pooch.  Tucked carefully under the arm of his keeper is this highly detailed curly-haired charmer.  Both figures have been carved from a yellowish toned lava (or tuff) rock.  These unique cameos were popular trinkets on The Grand Tour.  This trip through Europe was prevalent among upper class young men in the 17th-19th centuries as a sort of rite of passage exposing the individual to cultural refinement.  The city of Pompeii was one of the most common stops on the tour.  Beloved souvenirs from this great city were the cameos carved from the volcanic breccia that resulted from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in the 1600’s.  

With a rosy gold frame, this high-relief three-dimension portrayal offers incredible attention to detail.  Observe the fine wispy tendrils of hair that have escaped from underneath the wide-brimmed hat, the very realistic bony paw that drapes over the gathered sleeve of the dress and the expression captured on the faces of both the young woman and her canine companion.  

Moderately priced at just $2,500.00 – this meticulously intricate representation is just one of the many cameos available at Joden.  If you can’t take your actual dog to work today, perhaps this brooch would be a fair stand-in.  

“You can go to a museum and look, or come to us and touch.”

Written by Carrie Martin

Photos by Dana Jerpe

Pick of the Week – Volume 52

Joden Girl

Baubles and Bling with Unbelievable Pricing

It’s hard to remember what I did before Google was available at the tips of my fingers.  Working with antique jewelry and writing blogs often involves quite a bit of research…  and hopefully a bit of discovery.  I love that “a-ha moment” when a mystery becomes just a bit more clear.  Sometimes it’s finally revealing a particular maker’s mark or perhaps ferreting out a little piece of obscure symbolism.  Today, it was a small insight into the identity of this exceptional carving.

This demi-parure consists of an ornately carved pendant and matching earrings from the Victorian era.  Dubbed “lava cameos”, these incredible pieces were more likely sculpted from tuff or volcanic breccia.  I first wrote about this Grand Tour souvenir over four years ago in a blog titled “Out of the Ashes“.  Then, I speculated that this could have been an early piece of mourning jewelry due to the urns dangling from each face.  But today, I read that many lava carvings depicted mythological gods…  which led me to Google.  Within just a few keystrokes, a lightbulb turned on – this must be Dionysus!  

The Greek god of the grape harvest, wine-making and fertility, Dionysus wears an elaborate grapevine headdress.  What I originally thought were cremation urns are actually wine casks or amphora.  The subject has been chiseled to absolute perfection, even now, the precision is stellar.  The detail is so fine exhibiting little to no damage.  Each curl, nose, leaf and grape is intact.  Remarkable, really.

These unusual jewels were result of ingenuity.  1700 years after Mount Vesuvius erupted and covered Pompeii in ash and lava, the city was uncovered and became a celebrated stop for travelers.  Artisans utilized the material available to create trinkets and souvenirs.  A lava cameo pinned to your chest showed that you were a well-traveled person with good taste and culture. 

While the matte muddy color of the rock is not particularly alluring, it is representative of the area from which it hails.  In addition, because this particular media did not lend itself easily to intricate carving – examples like this are exceedingly rare and truly showcased the skill of the artist.  This suite has been featured on our site for $14,400.00.  Now, as a Pick of the Week, this phenomenal carving of Dionysus can be yours for just $10,300.00.  Click over to our site now.

“You can go to a museum and look, or come to us and touch.”

Written by Carrie Martin

Photos by Dana Jerpe and Shelly Isacco

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