Antique Italian 18K & Carved Coral Bacchante Necklace

  • Sale
  • Regular price $5,950.00

In Greek mythology, maenads were the followers of Dionysus, the god of wine and revelry. Their name literally translates as "raving ones". Maenads were also know as Bacchantes, after the equivalent Roman god, Bacchus. The women who followed these gods were portrayed as becoming inspired by the god into a state of ecstatic frenzy through a marathon of dancing and intoxication. During these rites, the maenads would dress in skins and carry a thyrsus, a long stick wrapped in ivy and tipped with a pine cone. They would weave viny wreaths around their heads or wear a bull helmet in honor of their god, and often handle or wear snakes. Referred to as "Mad Women" and the Nurses of Dionysus in ancient literature and myth, they fascinated the Victorians, who romanticized their figures in the decorative arts and jewelry.

This incredibly rare coral necklace features a carved coral pendant with the head of a maenad or Bacchante. Her placid expression gives no hint of the wild shenanigans she is about to participate in, so we have named her "Galena", which means 'calm', and is the name of a maenad on an ancient vase painting. Her face is backed in 18 karat yellow gold, and holding her in place are 166 painstakingly carved knobby coral beads, set in a graduated scale. Beautifully executed in the most desirable of coral hues, it is truly a museum-quality piece, and one that will make a statement in your collection!

Circa 1820

Details (approximate)

Dimensions: 19"

Weight: 55 grams

Materials: Gold, Carved Coral

Metal: 18K yellow gold

Marks: None

Condition: Very good antique condition commensurate with age and wear