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.
A significant portion of superior ancient cameo carving came from Greece and Rome, and to the present day, Italy has remained the major center of cameo cutting. Other countries also have enjoyed their heydays. France became a renowned cameo center during the Renaissance (14th through 16th centuries) and remained the dominant style setter through the mid-1700s. A revival of classic cameo cutting in the late 1700s accompanied a period of classical decorative motifs and Grecian-style fashions. When members of the upper class took their Grand Tours, cameos were brought back home as souvenirs. During the reign of Queen Victoria, cameos became wildly popular and were worn with great enthusiasm.
This fabulous, historic example was made in the 1700s, featuring a masculine head in profile. With long, curled hair, it could be a rendition of Alexander the Great. Crafted in 18 karat yellow gold, studded with diamonds, and sporting a rather haunted looking emerald at the top, it is a wonderful treasure to cherish in your collection.
Weight: 14.58 grams
Materials: Gold, Diamond, Emerald, Carved Hardstone Cameo
Metal: 18K yellow gold
Condition: Very good Antique condition commensurate with age and wear. Circa 1700s