18e eeuwse camee ring

A French, 18th-century 18 carat gold ring with an 18th-century agate (sardonyx) depicting Perseus and Pegasus. The stone was cut in a cameo of seven layers in white, black, pink and brownish colours. The pink is caused by the iron oxide in the sardonyx.

Perseus, the son of Danaë and Jupiter, can be recognized by his winged shoes and the winged hat he was given by Mercury so that he could conquer Medusa. The shield was a gift from Minerva. After Perseus vanquished Medusa, Pegasus sprang from her blood.

This peaceful image of Perseus allowing Pegasus to graze is rarely represented. Similar early depictions occur in the etchings of Cesare Ripa (circa 1560-1622), but then with Mercury, instead of Perseus, and Pegasus.

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