The earliest known use of shell for cameo carving was during the 15th and 16th centuries. Before that, cameos were carved from hard stone. 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 lovely 3 piece cameo set includes a pair of hanging earrings and pin/pendant from the Victorian period (ca1880)! Each hard stone cameo bears the profile of a hand carved Victorian woman which rests atop a black background. The cameos are set in an ornate 15kt gold setting which is decorated with fine Etruscan wirework and beadwork. The ornate detail portrayed in the cameo is exceptional with delicate features in her face, as well as the fine adornments in her hair. Each piece hangs from a complimentary surmount and bail that is decorated with a complimentary beadwork design. On the back of the pin/pendant is a glass covered locket which is perfect to add your favorite photograph. The pin/pendant has a swing down bail which allows one to easily convert the piece from a necklace to a pin. A beautiful set, this is a must have for the cameo collector!
Measurements: The earrings hang approximately 1 7/8" long, 3/4" at their widest and 1/4" thick. The pin/pendant hangs a little less than 2 3/8" long, is 1 1/4" at the widest point and 1/2" thick.
Condition: The overall condition of this set is excellent. Besides normal surface wear, there is no apparent damage to the gold or to any of the cameos. The earring wires and pendant bail are in good working condition and the clasp on the pin is secure and in good working condition.