Catherine De Medici (13 April 1519 – 5 January 1589) was an Italian noblewoman. She also was queen consort from 1547 until 1559, by marriage to King Henry II and mother of kings Francis II, Charles IX and Henry III. The years during which her sons reigned have been called "the age of Catherine de' Medici" as she had extensive, if at times varying, influence in the political life of France. Often regarded as brutal and calculating, she has a bad rep in history. Catherine de Medici’s legacy is controversial. On the one hand, she is remembered for being one of the most powerful French queens of the early modern period. On the other, none of her sons were able to secure the dynasty and, ultimately, she was blamed for many of the atrocities that occurred during their reigns, the most well known being the St Bartholomew’s Day massacre. To read more about her dramatic and fascinating life, check out historyextra.com.
During the Victorian Era, former sovereigns and events they were involved in were celebrated with commemorative jewelry. This cameo, carved from hard stone and set in 18 karat yellow gold, is inscribed with the year 1851, perhaps marking the anniversary of a certain point in the life of the famous Catherine. Elaborately coiffed, and wearing the style of the Tudors in dress and jewelry, she is well carved and detailed, showing a passable likeness to Catherine De Medici.
Materials: Gold, carved hard stone cameo
Metal: 18K yellow gold
Marks: Inscribed 1851, 1219 (etched on reverse), hallmark
Condition: Excellent antique condition