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This 1873 hallmarked carved agate cameo ring reflects the influences of French Impressionism on cameo carving in the late 1800's that endured through the 1920's. This carving style was reflected in both hardstone and shell cameos. This ring's superb condition is a celebration of wonderful life of over 140 years.
Set in a 9ct yellow gold mount, this navette shaped carving is a full body depiction of young hand maiden balancing a bowl upon her head. Her gown appears to be swirling in the breeze. The cameo is bezel set with a simple hand chased surround. This mount measures 17.25mm tall by 9mm wide (just under 3/4" by 3/8"). The shank is simple and is in its original size, 7 U.S., which is quite large for a woman's ring from 1873. There are British hallmarks for 9ct, Birmingham, 1873, all clearly visible. Also makers mark of "SH". The ring weighs 2.8 grams.
Gemstone and banded agate cameos are considered the original mediums of cameo carvers and the most difficult to carve. Much harder than shell and coral, and not uniformly colored like gemstones, the unique layered bands of the agate stone make their carving indeed a challenge. The dream like carving details are a reflection of the impressionist movement of the late 1800's that focused on the "essence" of its subject, rather than the exact details, sometimes likened to a glimpse from the corner of one's eye. Non-exact strokes captured the illusion of movement. Cameo carvers embraced this movement, using non-exact strokes to capture the illusion of movement.
After 145 years, this lovely ring is in excellent condition and ready to wear without worry. Both the black and white bands of the stone are crisp and without damage. The ring mount and shank are also in excellent condition. This ring can be sized up or down from its original size 7.
This charming antique cameo ring will be delivered in the pictured pyramid presentation box. They are amazing together. Presentation is an art that we love!