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This sweet 1940's shell cameo brooch pendant features one of our favorite cameo settings--the rare marcasite and yellow gold vermeil frame combination. Marcasites are perfect partners for shell cameos as their sparkle brings such a sensational glow to any cameo carving.
This vintage beauty showcases a carving of a demure 1940's woman with eyes cast down. At first glance, we notice her perfectly coiffed hair that is softly pinned up in a crown of curls with a blossom accent. Her eloquent facial features and long neck are very European. A softly shirred drape beautifully accents her delicate shoulders.
The cameo is carved from carnelian shell (Cassis Rufa) and offers hues of rich caramel and cream. The cameo is set in an 800 silver frame with four prongs set on both front and back. Most prong settings incorporate only four on front. The frame measures 41.25mm tall (1-5/8") by 33.2mm wide (1-5/16"). It features both a locking brooch pin and its original drop down pendant bail. It weighs 8.5 grams and is hallmarked "800".
There are four groups of six marcasites set in polished silver that oppose one another at top and bottom, left and right. In between the marcasite sections, the frame sections have been fold washed with flowers etched into the frame. This silver and gold combination is beautiful. I am always amazed at how well the gold vermeil finish is retained on these two tone 800 silver designs.
The cameo is crisp and without use related smoothing. There are no chips or cracks. When magnified AND candled to the light, we see internal striations within the shell that do no break the surface. We also see that the lower left back prong is clipped off, as is the top left front prong. Both areas are smooth and secure as there is a prong in the same location on the opposite side of the shell. We do see small bits of clear jewelers epoxy at these point on the back have been added for extra security. With the double prong setting, it is doubtful this epoxy was needed, but we have not attempted to remove. This was applied strictly to the backside and it is not visible with the naked eye.
These marcasite cameos have always been a favorite of mine personally, especially the gold and silver ladies. Much like the 1980's to 1990's when women just couldn't make up their mind regarding white or yellow gold, I suppose women of the late 1940's had the same dilemma. It indeed makes for a delightful presentation.
This cameo will be delivered in an elegant presentation case, perfect for gift giving and storage, along with a copy of our easy cameo care instructions.
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