Time to power up for Spring. Simply beautiful, this lovely shell cameo offers a detailed depiction of the Roman goddess Ceres (Greek Demeter), carved from the soft pink strata of the Queen conch shell. Set in 14K yellow gold, this sweet cameo can be worn as either a brooch or pendant. It is ready to love and ready to wear upon arrival.
Ceres was the goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships. Ruling over "home and hearth", Ceres (or Demeter) was the most important goddess in the daily lives of "common" people. Due to her importance, Ceres was a favorite subject for carvers, with these cameos always highly revered.
The cameo is bezel set in a 14K yellow gold frame measuring 38mm tall (1-1/2") by 31.5mm wide (1-1/4"). The cameo itself measures 35mm tall by 27mm wide. Carved in high relief, the carving itself measures approximately 7.5mm thick (just under 5/16"). The custom bezel is accented with a filigree surround. There is a locking brooch pin and a hinged pendant bail. Including the bail, the total length is 1-11/16". The brooch pin and hinge are a non-gold replacement. The locking clasp is original and 14K. The stabilizing bar is stamped "14K". We estimate age to be early 1960's. The cameo weighs 10.2 grams.
The carving is very well executed. It is always a joy to review these Queen conch shell carvings as the shell itself is quite unique and differentiates from the darker shell varieties, sardonyx (Cassis Madagascariensis) and carnelian (Cassis Rufa). The Queen conch is quite large with a thicker shell, and the cameo carvings are opaque and not translucent. There is usually only a slight degree of color variance between its stratas (carving and background). This particular carving exhibits very slight variance between its powder pink background and the slightly paler Ceres. The carver employed expert undercutting with thick relief given her hair and symbolic wheat sheaves headdress. Even the drape of her stola gown is very defined. Ceres' face is youthful with a full cheek and a smaller, more Americanized nose than we normally see.
Queen conch cameos can be found with both uniform and diverse (pink and white) coloration. This particular cameo is carved from a whisper soft pink hued section and its uniform pale color automatically draws the eye in to the carving. Several of the pictures are backlit with bright natural lighting and may appear pinker than the overall actual hue.
The shell itself is supple, with a glossy polish and without chips or cracks to the carving, background, edges or backside. There is no yellowing or discoloration present. You will find a wide variety of pink Queen Conch shell carvings from the 19th and 20th centuries, including cameos and beads. These shell cameos and beads are often misidentified as coral. The conch grows and forms it own shell while coral is created from the secretions and skeletons of anemones. The Queen conch's pink hue is definitive as this color does not naturally occur in coral. This cameo and its frame are in excellent condition. The replaced pin hinge was done very professionally with no damage to the frame. The seating on the replacement hinge is actually sturdier than the original would have been.
We are huge fans of the goddess Ceres/Demeter and her story. Due to her heartbreaking travails with her own daughter Persephone, women especially believed she that she understood their experiences of love, suffering and grief, enabling them to once again plow through heartache towards a fruitful life. A very nice message cameo for that strong woman in your life.
This blushing beauty will be delivered in a lovely presentation case, perfect for gift giving and storage, along with a copy of our easy cameo care instructions. Plus Fast & Free shipping to USA.
Cameos are easy to wear and easy to love, and a perfect start to a conversation any day, anywhere.
We love cameos, how about you? We will be adding a wide variety of shell cameo jewelry over the next few months. Stay tuned...