Victorian French 18kt/Sterling Agate Cameo & Diamond Pin
Originally, cameo jewelry was hand-carved from hard stone up until the 15th and 16th centuries. At that point, there was also the introduction 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 impeccable cameo pin is a hand-carved piece from the Victorian (ca1880) era! Crafted in a sterling-topped 18kt gold setting, the head and bust of a young woman graces the center of the piece. Highly detailed, the woman is shown in profile and depicted with an elaborate braided hairstyle. A gauzy band of fabric is wrapped around her head, with curled tendrils of hair peaking out around her forehead, framing her beautiful face. Surrounding the cameo is a gorgeous border of delicate rose cut diamonds, which are individually set in sterling, fanning out from the center of the piece. The agate has a rich, deep brown color and looks wonderful paired with the creamy white portrait and sparkling diamonds! On the back of the piece is a secure bar pin and c-catch clasp, perfect for fastening to a favorite garment. Two small French hallmarks appear on the back; an eagle head on the bar pin and another mark on the c-clasp. An impressive example of Victorian cameo jewelry, this brooch is simply wonderful and perfect for any cameo collector!
Measurements: The brooch has a 1 1/8" diameter and measures 1/4” at its thickest point.
Condition: The overall condition of the brooch is excellent. Besides normal surface wear, there is no apparent damage to the sterling-topped gold setting or to the carved cameo, and all of the diamonds are intact. The catch fastens securely and is in good working condition.