Sunday Brunch: Myth & Magic

August 30, 2020
Dear friends,

There are so many things I love about vintage- the quality of craftsmanship, the diversity in designs, the new life we give to the objects we find and love. Maybe my favorite part of all, though, is the stories so many of these pieces tell. Some pieces carry a history of where they've been, who they belonged to, and some carry a story in their very design. The fantasy and storytelling of mythologies seems to go hand in hand with the spirit of vintage jewelry, and it's no surprise that many vintage lovers are also fans of mythological motifs.
 This Week: Myth & Magic

60s Three Graces Sterling Silver Locket Necklace $325

From Greek mythology, the Three Graces are
Aglaea ("Shining"), Euphrosyne ("Joy"), and Thalia ("Blooming"), goddesses of charm, creativity, beauty, and goodwill. They are generally depicted young, lovely and nude, and have been an inspiration for many artists throughout history including Boticelli, Rubens, Canova and Picasso.

Very Unusual 40s Sterling Silver and Coral Navette Ring with Cameo of Hercules and Cannetille Details $995

This ring features a teeny cameo carving of Hercules (also known as Heracles). Hercules was the son of Zeus, and is maybe best known for his
Twelve Labours. He is shown here wearing the pelt of the Nemean lion, his first labour.

40s Goldtone Necklace with Oni, Squid, Koi Fish, Sea Dragon, and Japanese Gates $295

This necklace includes a depiction of an
oni, a kind of demon who commonly featured as villains in Japanese fairytales. Oni usually had horns, were red, blue, or white as seen here, and carried clubs.
The Chimera is a beast from Greek mythology that was said to have lived in Lycia. The Chimera breathed fire, and was a hybrid creature that had the parts of more than one animal. Most commonly it is depicted as a lion with a goat head protruding from its back and a snake tail (yikes!). I much prefer the less terrifying portrayals of the Chimera, like the ones below.


60s 18k Gold Chimera Brooch with Emerald Eyes and .80ct Diamonds by Designer Wolf; Inquire for Price

Victorian Gold Filled Chimera Watch Pin with Cultured Pearl $245
 Pegasus is a winged horse of Greek myth, said to have sprung forth out of the blood of the gorgon Medusa when she was beheaded. Pegasus aided Bellerophon in his fight against the Chimera (time to choose whose side you're on- Pegasus or Chimera?)

80s Artisan Sterling Silver Pegasus with Carved Amber Head; Inquire for Price

70s Sterling Silver Pegasus Necklace by Great Falls Metal Works $275

80s Sterling Silver Man in the Moon Necklace $140

The concept of the Man in the Moon has been around for maybe as long as men have looked up at the moon, seeing themselves reflected in the seas and highlands of its surface. One of my favorite Man in the Moon moments may be his brief cameo in
Le Voyage dans la Lune.
Top: Victorian 10k Gold Cameo Pin/Pendant $1,150
Bottom: 20s 18k Gold Cameo Brooch $1,050

Mythology is a common subject for cameos. These two lovely Greco Roman brooches show scenics of Cupid, arbiter of love, and his mother Venus, the goddess of pleasure, love and beauty.
 Like in cameos, mythology is also a popular inspiration in intaglios. In the piece below, we see the whole family: Venus, Mars and that little trouble maker Cupid.

Victorian Banded Agate Greco-Roman Intaglio Bezel Set in Sterling Silver Brooch $995

Here is the piece backlit to show the details of the carving and the stone.

Next we come to maybe the most well known of all mythical creatures- the dragon! Both European and Asian cultures developed their own independent concepts of the dragon. All depictions of the dragon show them as large serpents (and in fact the word "dragon" is derived from the Latin draconem, meaning "huge serpent."

European dragons are generally considered to be maleficent creatures (and not just in the
Disney sense), breathing fire and guarding treasure and leaving trails of destruction in their wake. Asian dragons on the other hand are benevolent creatures, considered to be good luck and to bring prosperity.

40s 835 Silver Dragon Bracelet $49


20s 14k Gold Beautifully Engraved Entwined Dragons Ring $1,250
Late 20s French Celluloid Wyvern Brooch $275

A wyvern is a creature similar to a dragon with two legs (or no legs), usually with an arrow-shaped tail as seen here. They are an important symbol in Irish, English and Scottish heraldry. The most common distinction from the dragon (besides the fewer limbs) is that they usually breath frost or poison instead of fire.

70s Artisan Brass Gorgon Ring $198

The gorgons were hideous monsters with snakes for hair, the most famous of which was Medusa. In ancient Greece, the image of the gorgon was a common household decoration because it was thought to ward off evil.

c. 1910 14k Gold Art Nouveau Pendant of Marianne with an Old Mine Cut Diamond $425

In a more patriotic take on mythology, this pendant (long ago converted from a stickpin) shows
Marianne, the personification of France. She represents liberty, equality, reason and was originally a symbol of opposition to the monarchy during the French Revolution.
70s James Yesberger Handwrought Winged Lion Ring $495

The winged lion is found in many ancient and medieval cultures (though not usually looking this cute!). In modern times the winged lion is best known as the
symbol of Venice, where the creatures have an especially prominent presence in Piazza San Marco.
 The fenghuang and the dragon are a symbol in sinospheric mythology representing harmony between men and women, with the fenghuang being traditionally female, and the dragon traditionally male. They are often associated with marriages, and were common symbols of the empress and emperor.
60s 14k Gold Fenghuang and Dragon Pendant with Jade, Ruby, Emerald, Turquoise and Coral $1,950
70s Napier Fenghuang Statement Necklace $165
40s Mexican Mixed Metal Ozomatli Cuff $395

Ozomatli was an Aztec monkey god, and a companion spirit to Xochipilli, the god of music and dance. He is associated with fun, art and games, and is often depicted in this festive, raise-the-roof posture.
60s Rhinestone Octopus Brooch $325

And of course we cannot forget the mighty Kraken- terror of the seas, sinker of ships, that most sinister of cephalopods! The Kraken was a Norse sea monster, likely imagined after sightings of giant squids. It's doubtful any Norseman ever imagined the Kraken quite as cute and sparkly as this fun fellow, though.
All items in our Sunday Brunch collections are available for purchase! If you are interested in a piece you've seen, just reply to this email for details on how to buy.

Congratulations you have made it through that marathon of mythical beings and beasts! This was a long one, but there were just so many fun pieces to share and I had a really good time researching. Have a lovely week full of fantastic and magical adventures!

Stylishly yours,

Lara and the team