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.
Victorians loved cameos, and wore them prolifically throughout the era. Our serene gentlelady has a modest stance and a sweet half smile upon her lips. Her garb seems to be a tribute to Heraldic times, which is consistent with the Victorian's love of romantic literature and motifs.
Carved from a pale hardstone and set onto a deep rusty red carnelian, the pendant is backed with a glossy black agate. The 10 karat gold setting is shaped like two inverted shields sandwiched between the stones like a delectable little macaroon! Decorative chase work finishes the front, creating a fancy finish to this wonderful piece! Best of all, the locket opens to reveal two miniature photos of two women from different periods--one being a possible Victorian tintype and the other being a color photo from the 1960s or 70s. A substantial bale at the top is hinged with two rings attached, indicating that it could have been worn as a watch fob, then later as a necklace. Part of the enjoyment and fun of antique jewelry is re-imagining ways to adorn yourself with these little treasures from the past.
Dimensions: 1 5/8" x 1"
Weight: 12.6 grams
Materials: Gold, carved carnelian cameo, agate
Metal: 10K yellow gold
Condition: Excellent antique condition