Created as part of our signature collection, this 14k gold intaglio medallion depicts Venus and Mars, standing in an embrace. Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, is loosely draped in a cloth, while her lover Mars, the god of war, stands before her, creating an elegant composition on the oval medallion.
Using a rare bronze intaglio from the late 1700’s, we created a mold and cast the pendant in gold. We hand-carved depth into the mold so that the details would pop on the contemporary medallion as beautifully as they do on the original antique intaglio, and then lovingly added a gentle patina by hand to the finished piece.
The intaglio used as a mold for this medallion is attributed to the James Tassie workshop, circa the late 18th century. Born in 1735, Tassie was a Scottish stonemason who invented a glassy white paste perfect for replicating gemstones. Tassie was commissioned across Europe, first by Catherine the Great of Russia, then by the Wedgwood factory, to create imitation gemstones and elaborately carved intaglios. In 1773, most of the infamous blue and white cameos in the Wedgwood catalogue were cast from molds made by Tassie. The artist left behind a collection of over 15,800 intricate pieces of artwork. Many of Tassie’s intaglios were cast in glass-paste or plaster, which could eventually break. However, some were cast into bronze—which have survived for centuries. These pieces are rare treasures that capture Tassie’s incredible skill.
We love the Classical Revival imagery found in James Tassie’s work, which often depicts scenes from Greek and Roman mythology. These myths speak to human nature in a way that makes it just as evocative today as it was in the Classical Revival era that James Tassie worked within. The beauty of the images and timelessness of the stories were what drew us to these intaglios and inspired us to revive the centuries-old art for contemporary jewelry. Just as Tassie revived these ancient images, we are reviving Tassie’s work. Tradition is part of what makes the art of jewelry so meaningful.
The medallion weighs 7.8 grams. It measures 11/16” x 15/16” with a 7 x 9.5 mm bail. The medallion is pictured here on a Vintage 18K Gold Italian Bar Link Chain.