Victorian 15kt Pearl & Hard Stone Cameo Earrings
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.
A gorgeous pair of hand carved hardstone cameo earrings from the Victorian (ca1880) era! Made of 15kt yellow gold (indicating English origin), each earring holds an oval shaped hard stone cameo which is held within a twisted rope border, surrounded by 10 natural seed pearls which frame the outside. The carved images vary slightly from one another, both depicting the figure of a woman who stands draped in shrouds of fabric. The detail and craftsmanship is exceptional, including outstretched arms, wisps of hair, and delicate facial features. Each earring hangs from a gold and pearl topper attached to a simple earring wire. The earrings look simply marvelous when worn and have a wonderful Victorian look. They would make a special addition to any collection!
Measurements: The earrings hang 1 5/8" long, are 3/4" wide and slightly less than 1/4" at their thickest point.
Condition: The overall condition of the earrings is excellent. Besides normal surface wear, there is no apparent damage to the cameos or to the gold frame. The earring wires are secure and in good working condition.