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 Bonaparte. 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. Hardstone cameos were also popular, and often brought back from Italy when the upper classes took the "Grand Tour".
This handsome ring has been converted from an antique cufflink, depicting an armored male with a shield. On his coiffed head, he wears a helmet that has a griffin atop. The griffin was a mythical figure, half eagle, half lion, which guarded the golds of kings, and was sometimes linked to the god Apollo. A wonderful piece, sure to serve as a conversation starter, and great for making an every day ensemble special!
Size (can be resized): 7.5
Weight: 7.4 grams
Materials: Gold, Carved Hardstone Cameo
Metal: 14K yellow gold
Condition: Excellent converted Antique condition commensurate with age and wear