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.
This exceptional cameo pendant is hand carved and from the Victorian (ca1872) era! This fabulous hand carved sardonyx cameo is set in a vibrant 18kt yellow gold bezel setting and particularly large in size. The beautiful creamy white face of a young woman graces the center of the piece and the background of the cameo is a greyish lavender color. Highly detailed, the woman is wearing what appear to be leaves in her hair with small tendrils peeking down. A wide gold frame surrounds the outside of the entire cameo and the piece hangs from the original bail which beautifully ornate. The underside of the frame has the hand etched date "12th May 1872". This stunning cameo is simply wonderful and would make a lovely addition to any collection!
Measurements: The pendant hangs approximately 3" long, is 1 7/8" wide, and 1/2” at its thickest point.
Condition: The overall condition of the pendant is excellent. Besides normal surface wear there is no serious damage to the cameo or to the gold setting and bail.