The earliest known use of shell for cameo carving was during the 15th and 16th centuries. Before that, cameos were carved from hardstone. The Renaissance cameos are typically white on a grayish background and were carved from the shell of a mussel or cowry. In the mid 18th century, explorations revealed new shell varieties. Helmet shells from the West Indies, and queen conch shells from the Bahamas arrived in Europe, thus sparking a big increase in the number of cameos that were carved from shells. Most commonly, cameos portrayed the faces or images of Romanesque women. The cameos usually depicted the portrait of the "idealized" woman or god's and goddesses from mythology.
An exquisite pair of hard stone agate cameo earrings from the Victorian (ca1880) era! This stunning pair of hanging earrings is made with 14kt yellow gold and have carved cameo centers. Often called banded agate, the black background sets the stage for the beautiful hand carved white cameo. The ornate detail portrayed in the Victorian ladies' face is exceptional. If you look very closely, you can see the lovely feminine folds of the dress, necklace and hair. The earrings dangle from 14kt yellow gold wires and have open backs. A true classic pair of earrings, they are beautiful worn casual or dressy and would make a perfect addition to any collection!
Measurements: The earrings hang 1 1/2" long, are 3/4" wide and have a depth of 3/8".The hard stone agate ovals measures approximately 1/2" wide and approximately 3/4" tall.
Condition: The overall condition of this pair of earrings is excellent. There is no apparent damage to the gold or agate cameos and the wires are in good working condition.