Symbolism Sunday, The Three Graces

October 10, 2010

I’ve had some people complain to me that their Sundays are supposed to be relaxing and I’m writing too much for them to digest. Well, you did want to be a jewellery historian, didn’t you?

All right, this week carries through a loose theme from last week (Faith, Hope & Charity), so we’ll take a very brief look at the Three Graces.

Seen mostly in Neoclassical miniatures and pieces of the latter 18th century, the Three Graces aren’t typical of many memorial or sentimental pieces of jewellery, though they are found more often in cameo form still in production today.

The Three Graces, or Charities, are often depicted as three women, often young, seen dancing or generally frolicking. Their symbols are also rose, myrtle and dice, or they are seen holding vases, corn, musical instruments or fruit. The abundance of symbolism here relates to fertility, beauty, creativity and nature. Much like last week with Faith, Hope and Charity, there’s the theme of the trinity with the Three Graces, where there has been the allusion to having a Judeo-Christian relationship, but unless the scene is overtly stated, the classical interpretation is ubiquitous and understood.

Ahh, I’ve sat between many debates over the Three Graces over the years, you’d think for symbols of fertility, beauty and creativity they would draw a little less ire from people. But that’s a story for another day.

Until next, go have a nice day and kick your feet up, or if you want to discuss with other collectors, head over to the Art of Mourning Facebook Group, where I’m asking the question; have you noticed any classical symbolism around you in your day to day life?

Previously on Symbolism Sunday:

Faith, Hope and Charity

The Clover

The Willow

The Column

The Hourglass

The Serpent

The Dove

The Dog

The Angel

The Marigold / Lily

27 Responses to “Symbolism Sunday, The Three Graces”


  1. […] of the figure in Neoclassical mourning pieces. Perhaps the woman (or women) depicted are part of a religious allegory (be it Greek, Roman or having Christian allusions), beyond the simple interpretation of the […]


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