All The Brilliants

Omphale Power Woman

A celebration of extraordinary Power Women throughout time, a jewel or significant artifact of her era, and a modern interpretation of this narrative in jewelry.

 
 
Omphale

OMPHALE

Meet #PowerWoman Omphale, the queen of Lydia, whose story with Hercules is charged with eroticism, sex, cross-dressing, and Feminism! Following Hercules’ macho, reckless behavior, he was sent to Omphale’s court in Asia Minor for a year of “servitude”. This included being stripped of his signature Nemean lion hide and club and replaced with women's wardrobe and spindle - so that he may join the courtly women in spinning cloth. Guess who wields the lion skin and club? Omphale!

There is so much juicy intrigue swirling between these two to discover. Throughout art history, there is a cheeky undercurrent of his subjugation as a “boy toy” and rich revelry in their amicable reversal of roles!

A few favorites are “Omphale” by Byam Shaw (1914) in her full splendor below, “The Farnese Hercules” by Hendrick Goltzius (1592) @VAMuseum and “Hercules at the Feet of Omphale” by Gustave Courtois (1912).  

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London | Wikimedia Commons

Omphale by Byam Shaw
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INTAGLIO GEMS

Thank you @LorenNicoleJewelry for “introducing” me to Omphale (and why she is a PowerWoman) and the incredibly talented @LalaRagimov, who hand carves intaglio gems! To our luxury loving ancestors, these were more than jewelry. They were practical art objects that functioned as seals, making forgeries difficult. Variations on this are sprinkled throughout the ancient world and is (brilliantly) alive today in Lala’s highly skilled hands.

Omphale and Hercules can be found carved in ancient intaglios at @MFABoston and @MetMuseum, respectively. Omphale is engraved into carnelian holding Hercules’ club with his lion skin draped around her (Roman, 50 - 1 BC). Below, Hercules is a sardonyx cameo (carved in relief with the design projecting outward) as he strangles the lion of Nemea (Italy, 1220 - 40 AD).

© 2018 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

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LOREN NICOLE X LALA RAGIMOV

Our favorite dynamic duo of Omphale and Hercules are reunited in a spectacular collaboration between two epically talented artists: @LorenNicoleJewelry and @LalaRagimov! Both women have pursued their passions in ancient cultures and jewelry technologies to bring us modern marvels of the ancient world. 

Lala’s delicate, carved figures are inspired by the ancient Omphale carnelian intaglio and Goltzius’ “The Farnese Hercules” - both previously posted.

Loren’s high karat yellow gold chain is handmade - shaped into links and hand formed using ancient techniques. 

This necklace is imbued with an epically erotic story of two lovers, but it is also a memory of history and curiosity to be carried and shared by the person who wears it... what a beautiful luxury!

Kindly contact us with interest.