Gold hat-jewel of the Judgement of Paris. The oval relief depicts the scene at the moment when Paris, seated and dressed in Classical armour (opaque light blue-enamelled cuirass and buskins), presents the apple to a white-enamelled Venus, standing in a graceful contrapposto with only a narrow strip of translucent red-enamelled drapery passing over her right shoulder to billow out in the breeze behind her, while her left hand clasps the upraised right hand of the little white-enamelled Cupid, who turns almost full-face. Above, a flying putto crowns Venus with the laurel wreath held in his right hand; his wings are enamelled in the same opaque light blue and he appears almost in profile between the two leafy trees with three shades of translucent green enamel. The nude figure striding away behind the seated Paris is Mercury wearing his translucent red-enamelled winged helmet and carrying his caduceus in his left hand, whilst his raised right hand appears to grasp a branch. The remaining part of the oval depicts the standing figures of Juno and Minerva. Juno, who is nearer to the centre, covers her breasts with her left hand and pulls the red translucent robe up across her left leg, while Juno's peacock, enamelled in a greenish-blue, turns its outstretched neck and head towards Paris, as if following the gaze of Juno herself. The gesture of dismissal from Cupid appears to be addressed to the peacock as much as to the two goddesses. Unlike Juno, the goddess Minerva has turned her head away, completely in profile to the right; with her left hand, she rests her shield on the ground in front of the bare tree on its rocky mound. The shield of Minerva is now a faceted blue sapphire without a frame but, as the reverse reveals, this oval gem-stone is held within a 'patched' area - the patch of gold giving strength to the area immediately surrounding the shield. The original shield may well have been set with a smaller gemstone, probably a ruby or diamond, which would have had a chased gold shield-shaped frame. The seat on which Paris is resting is now a table-cut peridot, but again the reverse reveals that another rectangular gold patch has been applied and, in an identical manner, the gemstone is held in place by claws at the back. The reverse also indicates how the simple oval frame of gold is almost crudely attached to the edge of the oval perimeter. The flat smooth surface of the reverse confirms the technique by which this hat jewel was made: it was cast, albeit in quite high relief, especially in the central area. The original frame has been replaced by a later simple gold border set with garnets and a few almandines.
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