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. *
This example is a popular carving during the Victorian Era. A lady in a long gown stands under a swaying tree, with a cottage in the background. Her back is turned to us, and she appears to be watching for someone to approach from the distant landscape she is facing; perhaps she is waiting for her husband to return home from the War. A wistful, almost ghostly image filled with beauty and longing, very well preserved with no chips or cracks, the perfect piece to hold history in your keeping.
* Source: My Modern Met https://mymodernmet.com/history-of-cameo-jewelry/
Dimensions: 47mm x 40mm
Weight: 10.1 grams
Materials: Gold, carved shell cameo
Metal: 10K gold
Condition: Excellent antique condition