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Cameos are commonly carved from shell and rarely in harder materials as it takes a true master carver to get the detail when carving into harder material and here is a very beautiful antique sardonyx cameo pendant that can easily be worn as a brooch. Dating from the 1880's, the pendant was made in 15 carat gold and has the most beautiful shape combined with incredible detail that stands out from near or far. In the centre is a very intricately hand carved cameo made of sardonyx. Sardonyx is a naturally layered material from the quartz family that is naturally layered with white and a soft pink to orange background, that when carved allows the carver to show these colours, and to highlight the form in this case a woman's head in profile. And the quality of carving is just spectacular. The detail is captivating with so much detail in the hair and there is no doubt that this was carved by a master carver. Measuring 27.1mm across by 40mm or 47.8mm to the top of the bail, when worn as a brooch, the bail just folds down behind the pendant to allow it to sit perfectly as a brooch. So attractive, this is a wonderful antique piece that no matter how it is worn, will always look so beautiful. Stock# ES9863 Circa: 1880 $2,650
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In Greek mythology, Athena was the daughter of Zeus and was the Goddess of Wisdom, and here is a truly exceptional early Australian cameo brooch depicting Athena. Dating from the 1860's, there are two wonderful features of this brooch. Firstly there is the exceptional quality of the hand carving of Athena, and the closer you get, the more detail you will see which is a true testament to the quality of the carver of this cameo, especially as it was done well over a century ago. More than likely this was hand carved in Italy, the home of all the master carvers of shell cameo and with so much intricate detail, that gets even more impressive the closer you get to it . The cameo itself measures 50.7mm by 42.5mm and will captivate all who see it from near or far. And secondly there is the fabulous mount that it is set into. Made in 15 carat gold, not only is the work typical of early Australian jewellery that is so sought after with the grape designs on each side along with the leaf pattern, but at the top is an emu which stands so proudly. This mount is truly one of the finest early Australian ones that you will ever find and a wonderful and exciting piece. Measuring 73mm by 60mm this is not only so incredibly rare to find, but just as incredibly beautiful and a real treasure not to just admire, but to wear as well. Stock# ES9357 Circa: 1865 $7,250
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Cameos are as individual as paintings and are usually carved from shell which is a relatively soft material that allows for some magnificent cameos to be produced, and the finest of all the cameos have been carved from much harder material from the cryptocrystalline quartz family such as onyx, carnelian and sardonyx which has been used in this magnificent antique cameo bracelet dating from the late Victorian era of the 1890's. Sardonyx is a naturally layered material that when carved down into the material leaves the white on the top to show the burnt orange colour below which is used to highlight the cameo magnificently in this bracelet. Referred to as a hardstone cameo, this material was only carved by the most experienced carvers due to the extreme difficulty in carving the sardonyx, and this would have no doubt been hand carved in Idar-Oberstein in Germany. For centuries Idar-Oberstein was known as the best place in the world for cutting hard material such as this and where the best of the best engravers produced exceptional pieces such as this. The detail in the cameo is nothing short of exceptional and the closer you get, the more you can appreciate not only the incredible detail but also the quality of craftsmanship that went into carving this cameo by hands well over 100 years ago. Measuring 35.6mm by 26.4mm, the cameo sits perfectly on top of the wrist and then leads to the 15 carat expandable bracelet this is highlighted with black enamel. The quality of the enamel is still in superb condition as is the bracelet itself and the springs between each link. Having the springs between the links will allow it to fit so many wrists and once on sit nice and close to the wrist where it will not move around the wrist. With every aspect of the bracelet in amazing condition and a cameo of extraordinary beauty, this bracelet is as unique as it is beautiful. Stock# ES9225 Circa: 1890 $Sold.
Cameos have traditionally been carved from shell which is a relatively soft material that allows for some magnificent cameos to be produced, and the finest of all the cameos have been carved from much harder material from the cryptocrystalline quartz family such as sardonyx, onyx and carnelian such as in this very beautiful antique cameo that was made in Birmingham in 1899. The oval cameo is set in a very elegant 18 carat setting and depicts a young maiden playing a lyre with such a demure and feminine look to her. The detail is just wonderful and as hardstone cameos are substantially more difficult to carve than shells, this was only left to the very best carvers. The frame around the cameo measures 17.8mm by 9.7mm and the ring sits perfectly on the finger where it accentuates the hand so well. Perfect for any finger, this antique cameo ring is so elegant and refined, and typical of the gorgeous late Victorian era. Stock# ES9178 Hallmarked: Birmingham 1899 $Sold.
Here is such a beautiful antique pink shell cameo made in the late 1800's that showcases the difference between modern cameos and ones that were hand carved to such a high standard all those years ago. Whereas most cameos are often carved in the helmet cameo which is an orange and white/beige colouring, these have been hand carved from the conch shell which has a lovely delicate pink and white colours which are so beautiful to admire from near or far. In total there are seven cameos with the ones at the end measuring 24.7mm by 18.7mm and the largest one in the centre measuring 28.6mm by 20.5mm. The quality of the carving is superb and each one is such exquisite detail that will have you admiring it every time it is on your wrist. Measuring 17cm from end to end and set in 15 carat rose gold, this is one bracelet that will always be loved and appreciated by all who see it. Stock# U037 Circa: 1890 $3,300
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Here is a very large antique cameo of Zeus and Hera dating from the 1880's that measures an impressive 6.9cm wide by 8.1cm and will make such a wonderful and eye catching accessory to any outfit and will surely get the attention and admiration that it rightly deserves. Cameos of this size are so rarely found, and with such a large "canvas" of shell, the engraver of this cameo was able to put in so much exquisite detail, that was all done by hand many years ago. Today many cameos are mass produced and not hand carved, resulting in them all being the same however nothing beats the quality and individual look and style of one that has been carved by hand. Depicting Zeus with his wife Hera, there is also an eagle at the bottom, the Aetos Dios, which was a giant golden eagle which served as Zeus's personal messenger and animal companion. With a border of white from the shell that highlights the cameo so beautifully, and with wonderful proportions, this is an antique cameo that will most certainly stand out and be admired from near or far. Stock# T851 Circa: 1880 $Sold.
This is a spectacular example of a Victorian hard stone cameo brooch that can be worn as a pendant that has not only the most beautiful mount, but an exquisitely hand carved cameo of exceptional quality. More often than not, cameos are carved from shell, whereas this is classified as a hard stone cameo. Made from a material called sardonyx which is naturally layered, being a much harder material than shell, these were only carved by engravers who had many years of experience behind them. The fine quality is evident when you look at how much detail there is in here face, hair and clothes. She is absolutely beautiful to admire from near or far and the cameo itself measures 23.2mm across by 31.7mm. The mount is made in 15 carat gold and has a stunning design to it that continues to the large bail at the top. Measuring 54.1mm from the bottom to the top of the bail or 43.6mm to the top of the mount by 39.8mm across, on the back is a brooch fitting and when worn this way, the top bail ingeniously drops down behind, and regardless of how it is worn, there is little doubt that it will always be loved and admired. This is one of the finest antique cameos around, and truly a piece of exceptional quality and craftsmanship. Stock# ES8232 Circa: 1870 $Sold.
Here is an exquisite and highly detailed antique cameo of Apollo based on Guido Reni's "L'Aurora" that dates from the 19th century and was so finely hand carved. The fresco painted by Guido Reni is the story of the sun god Apollo ascending the heavens surrounded by his daughters, the horae which were the goddesses of the seasons. He is preceded by his sister Aurora, the goddess of dawn. Above is Genius of light, or the day star Lucifer holding his torch. The story tells of Aurora who longed to be with her mortal lover for all eternity. Aurora asked Zeus to grant immortality to Tithonus a prince of Troy, and Zeus did grant her wish. Tragically, Aurora did not ask for eternal youth to accompany Tithonus immortality and he became forever old, after which she turned him into a grasshopper. It is this wonderful tale that makes this antique cameo even more special and such a wonderful talking point and looking at the painting compared to the cameo, the artist of this cameo truly captured so much detail and there is no doubt that this was carved by a true master carver. Carved on shell, when you get a cameo that has this much detail, it was so easy to engrave too far and pierce the shell rendering it worthless, whereas this cameo has no cracks or breaks through the material. The cameo itself measures 51.6mm across by 41.5mm and the 9ct rose gold frame measures 58.7mm by 48.3mm and is fitted with a safety chain for added security and peace of mind. This truly is an outstanding cameo of exceptional quality and is up there with the best of the best. *Please note the image of the painting is not included with the cameo - this was just to show the original* Stock# ES7471 Circa: 1870 $Sold
Here is an exquisitely hand carved antique cameo swivel brooch, that on one side shows the cameo and can easily swivel around to show the photo locket side. Dating from the 1880's, the mount itself is just so beautiful in design and is made even more special by being expertly hand engraved. The time needed to hand engrave this alone would have been immense and it is made in 9ct rose gold which compliments the cameo itself so well with that wonderful warm rose colour of gold. Then there is the hand carved cameo which so easily stands out as one that has been expertly hand carved by a master carver. The detail in the hair alone is captivating let alone the entire cameo and is a real testament to the carver of this cameo. And then to make this cameo brooch even more special, there is a locket compartment on the back which itself can swivel around to face the front. Such a simple yet wonderful way to choose which way to show, the entire mount measures 46.3mm across by 55.6mm and will sit so elegantly on any outfit and is sure to be admired and appreciated. A wonderful example of an antique cameo brooch. Stock# R949 Circa: 1880 $Sold.