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 an increase in the number of cameos that were carved from shells.
An exceptional cameo pendant from the Victorian (ca1880s) era! This beautiful piece is crafted in vibrant 18kt yellow gold and features a fantastic hand carved sardonyx cameo, which is particularly large in size. A gorgeous, creamy white face of a young woman graces the center of the piece and features incredible detail, including wavy hair, an ornate headpiece, dangle earrings, and a floral designed dress. The beautiful cameo rests on matte sardonyx background which displays a wonderful mauve hue, and its polished surface is revealed on the back of the pendant. A delicate, textured border surrounds the bezel frame and attached at the top is a simple gold bail, perfect for hanging from a favorite chain. This stunning cameo pendant would make a lovely addition to any collection!
Measurements: The pendant hangs approximately 2" long (including the bail at the top). The cameo itself, measures about 1 3/4" long, 1 1/4" wide, and 3/8” thick.
Condition: The overall condition of the pendant is excellent. Besides normal surface wear there is no apparent damage to the gold setting and the bail is secure and in good working order. The hand carved sardonyx cameo is in excellent condition and free of any chips and scratches. There are three small blemishes on the outside of the frame near the bail that are most likely remnants from a previous topper, however, they are not noticeable when worn.