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 carved cameo shell earrings from the Victorian (ca1880) era! Each of these stunning earrings has a hanging design crafted in 14kt yellow gold. Decorative wirework and seed pearl borders surround the cameo centers. Each cameo features the portrait of a Victorian lady with curled ringlets of hair draping at her shoulders. The earrings dangle from beautiful wirework surmounts, the perfect compliment to the wirework setting. A clasped gold earring wire rests at the top, completing the design. A classic pair of Victorian cameos, they would make a lovely addition to any collection!
Measurements: The earrings hang 2" long, including the surmounts and clasped wires at the top. The cameos and surrounding wirework frames measure 1" tall and 7/8" wide.
Condition: The overall condition of the earrings is excellent. Besides normal surface wear, there is no apparent damage to the gold settings or to the carved cameos, which are intact and free of any significant chips or scratches. The clasped earring wires are secure and in good working condition.