Originally, cameo jewelry was hand-carved from hard stone, up until the 15th and 16th centuries. At that point came the addition of the use of shell for cameo carving. 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 an increase in the number of cameos that were carved from shells. Antique shell and hard stone cameos in well-preserved condition remain highly sought after today!
This incredible cameo ring is a gorgeous hand-carved piece from the Victorian (ca1880) era! Contained within a vibrant 18kt gold setting, the hard stone agate cameo of a dancing muse graces the center of the piece. Highly detailed, the image depicts a woman who dances gracefully, the gauzy fabric of her dress and shall flowing around her. The figure is carved into the white band of the agate, resting above a deep brown layer of stone below. Surrounding the cameo is a gorgeous beadwork border, which features rows of braided wirework and delicate swirls of gold beads that form a flowing filigree pattern. The gold band is lined with a fine twisted wirework pattern at the center, the perfect finishing touch. An impressive example of Victorian cameo jewelry, this ring is simply breathtaking and perfect for the antique cameo collector!
Measurements: The ring has a finger size of 7, but could possibly be resized slightly. The cameo centerpiece measures 3/4" tall, 5/8" wide, and rests approximately 3/8" above the finger when worn.
Condition: The overall condition of the ring is excellent. Besides normal surface wear, there is no apparent damage to the gold setting or beadwork details. The carved agate cameo is secure, intact, and free of chips or scratches. There is an natural patina on the surface of the gold setting, which is normal for antique jewelry and adds to its beauty and character.