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Georgian Carnelian Intaglio Miniature Seal Fob "Psyche"

Georgian Carnelian Intaglio Miniature Seal Fob "Psyche"



DATE: Georgian, c.1820

A tiny Georgian miniature seal fob featuring Psyche (butterfly) intaglio carved onto the carnelian base. The rolled gold body is ornately carved with floral and urn-like motifs, and it dates from the early 19th century. The butterfly was often used by the Victorians to represent the soul; indeed in Greek the word for butterfly, Psyche, also means soul. This pendant is beautifully hand chased, with a clever 3D construction that forms a gap between the two wings.

In Greek mythology, Psyche was the mortal lover of Eros and the daughter of King Artistides and Queen Damaris. She was so beautiful that many in the kingdom abandoned the cult of Aphrodite to worship her instead. Aphrodite, who could bear no rivalry, hatched a plan to punish Psyche when she learned of this betrayal. She sent her son, Eros, to go out and find the ugliest pig he could, and take it to the kingdom of Artistides and Damaris. When he got there, he was to shoot Psyche with one of his arrows and makes sure the pig was the first thing she laid eyes upon. To cut a long story short, Eros bungled the job. After he'd sneaked into Psyche's room one night, he struggled to restrain the pig and scratched his own arm with his arrow. The commotion woke Psyche who lit a candle by her bed, and Eros instantly fell deeply in love with her... the rest, as they say, is history.


Carnelian agate


Height: 1.9cm

Base: 10.4 x 9.2mm




No marks present, tests as rolled gold


Good, some general wear commensurate with age