Cameos have been found as far back as 3,000BC and each one is as unique as a painting, and here is an antique cameo of exceptional quality.
Dating from the 1880's, most cameos are carved from shell, and the finest quality ones are carved from harder material such as this one here in onyx. Any cameo carved from this harder material can only be done by a master carver with many years of experience and the advantage of using a material such as onyx, is that it is naturally layered in two colours to highlight the top carving from the background.
Looking closely at the carving of a man, there is no doubt that this was carved by someone of immense skill. From the detail in the eye, hair and nose, to the curls in his beard, this is a truly exceptional cameo that is up there with the best of the best.
And then there is the mount that it is set into which is not only beautiful but very ingenious. Made in 15 carat gold, it is set with a border of eight pearls and eight European cut diamonds, as well as two more pearls and one more diamond on the top detachable bail. The diamonds total 0.86 carats and sparkle so beautifully and highlights the cameo even further.
Not only can this be worn as both a pendant and a brooch, but when this is being worn as a pendant, the brooch fitting on the back can be unscrewed and the hook that it clips into can be folded down to allow it to sit flat against the chest, and when worn as a brooch, the top bail can be removed. This just shows how much thought went into making this piece over 140 year ago and regardless of how it is chosen to be worn, it will always be admired.
Measuring 36.9mm across by 45.2mm or 58.4mm with the bail attached, this is one of the finest quality cameos that you will ever see.
Antique hardstone cameo diamond and pearl brooch/pendant
This antique cameo brooch can easily convert to a pendant. Set with European cut diamonds and pearls, it is carved in onyx which was only done by the finest and most experienced carvers of the time.
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