There is indeed something fascinating about women's hats, with the progression of designs and styles a historical study in itself. A hat is flirty, sassy and down right sexy. Is it any wonder how the name was coined for those extraordinary English "fascinator" hats?
This lovely vintage shell cameo has captured an elegant young woman circa 1920-1930's wearing a fabulous close fitting French calot cap. This form fitting woven hat design gained popularity in the 1920's along with short hair styles and once again charmed in the 1970's. Given the details of this beautiful maiden's facial features and its 925 silver setting, we believe this carving to be a 1920's tribute carving from the early 1970's.
Carved in gossamer style from carnelian shell (Cassis Rufa), this cameo brooch pendant is nicely sized at 49mm tall (just under 2") by 37mm wide (1-1/2"). The cameo is set in a 925 Sterling Silver bezel with twisted wire surround. There is both a locking brooch pin and a drop down pendant bail for wear on a necklace chain. The setting is stamped "925" and bears Italian registration marks "* 781 NA" for Napoli, Italy. The cameo weighs 8.9 grams.
The carver has captured a most beguiling woman with youthful good looks. Her bright eye, full cheeks, pert nose and superb neck flow beautifully into the clean lines of her knit jacket. A corsage decorates her shoulder. Her short wavy hair is gloriously accented with a calot cap that is laden with matching flowers in back, always the very best view for these simply not simple chapeaus. The carver cleverly retained an ever so soft blush to her cheek as well as a bit of color in her cap and jacket.
All is in excellent condition with no chips or cracks to the shell, nor damage to the 925 Silver setting. The carving is crisp and displays no smoothing whatsoever. When candled to the light, the carving's background layer has a pearlescent glow, as is the intention of this gossamer carving style. When candled and magnified, we see four internal concentric growth plates at the top right, which do not break the surface. This lovely cameo has been professionally cleaned and conditioned--ready to wear upon arrival.
There is something quite enchanting about a lady en chapeau, whether we encounter her on the street, in a photo or even in a charming cameo. A hat is the absolute finishing touch, but a detail that requires so "much". It is not a look that is easy to pull off, so perhaps that is why we are still so fascinated by the girl and her hat. We love watching the royals in their spectacular fascinators and still relish with glee the grand, oversized chapeaus on display at the Kentucky Derby. See there? There is just something about that hat...
This charming lady en chapeau will be delivered in an elegant presentation case, perfect for gift giving and storage, along with a copy of our easy cameo care instructions.