Italian carvers began to use shells for their creations in the early 1880's. Most commonly, cameos portrayed the faces or images of Romanesque women. Most often they had upswept hairstyles and some were even adorned with jewelry. The cameos usually depicted the portrait of the "idealized" woman or god's and goddesses from mythology.
This gorgeous large shell cameo pin/pendant is hand carved and from the Art Deco (ca1920) era. The piece is set in an ornate and unusual 14kt yellow gold setting which combines a border of small hearts with very Art Deco enameled corners. The enameling is a wonderful geometric pattern with red, yellow and blue sections. The beautiful face of the woman is highly detailed with curls in her hair and flowers that rest on her shoulder and bust. Around her neck is a sterling chain and pendant that has a single diamond set within it. The wire chain of the necklace is riveted through the cameo and ties in the back. On the back of the pin/pendant is a pin clasp as well as a swing down bail which easily transforms the piece from a brooch to a pendant. This exquisite and unusual pin/pendant would make a lovely addition to any collection!
Measurements: The cameo measures approximately 1 5/8" long and approximately 1 1/8" wide. The overall measurement of the brooch is a little less than 1 7/8" long, approximately 1 1/2" wide and 1/2" deep.
Condition: The overall condition of the brooch is excellent. There is no apparent damage to the cameo or the gold. There are a few very minor chips in the enameling which is not noticeable when worn. The pin clasp fits snug and secure and both the bail and the clasp are in good working condition.