Gem on lapis lazuli

Gem in lapis lazuli and gilded silver dating back to the 17th century, depicting the famous myth of Daphne and Apollo

Against the deep blue of a lapis lazuli stone, encapsulated in a gilded silver mount sits the elegant profile of Apollo who, with bow and quiver on his shoulder, is chasing the nymph, Daphne, whose raised arms are being transformed into laurel leaves. The engraving, depicting the famous myth of Daphne and Apollo, dates back to the 17th century.

The collection

The art work

On a fine sheet of lapis lazuli, bordered by a gilded silver frame is a depiction of the tormented love story of Apollo and Daphne: the scene shows the god chasing and trying to capture the nymph while she, elegantly clothed in a long tunic is fleeing her love as she is transformed into a stupendous laurel tree that will separate them forever. Her arms are raised towards the sky to become bending branches, while her feet will become strong roots and her sinuous body will become covered with soft bark as her delicate face disappears among the leaves.

“Though you cannot be my wife you will be my tree. My locks will always possess you, laurel, so will my lyre and my quiver.” This is how Ovid describes the words of Apollo who, unable to keep his love, embraces the evergreen that from then on, will become the very symbol of his worship.