A cameo is a form of glyptography, or bas-relief carving, most often cut into glass, hard-stones, and shells. Artworks were crafted to create two layers on one piece of material, the top of which protruded from its background, creating a multi-dimensional artwork. These detailed reliefs were often used to adorn pieces of jewelry, including brooches, necklaces, bracelets and rings. The earliest cameos took inspiration from prehistoric petroglyphs, which documented important religious and symbolic iconography onto rock faces.
Despite its popularity in previous periods, the most well-known era for cameo collection was the 19th century, inspired by royal cameo collectors Queen Victoria and Emperor Napoleon Buonaparte. Shelled cameos, which depicted these natural and humanistic scenes onto deep-sea shells, became quite popular under Queen Victoria’s reign. Similarly, Napoleon himself founded a Parisian apprentice school to foster the talents of young cameo carvers.
This turn of the century lady has been carved of shell and set in 14 karat yellow gold. She has a riotous head of curly locks, a generous full chin, and a wistful expression on her little face! We adore how each hand carved cameo from this era has its own personality, and our dear 'Henriette' is no exception!
Size (can be resized): 7.5
Weight: 2.6 grams
Materials: Gold, carved shell cameo
Metal: 14K yellow gold
Condition: Excellent antique condition