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Beautiful antique treasures often come in small packages and this sardonyx stone cameo is no exception.
Circa 1880-1890, this 10K yellow gold ring is adorned with a masterfully carved yet petite banded sardonyx agate stone measuring 8.6x6.6mm. However, this ring offers a rare and substantially sized 7.5 US shank for this period. Set in a simple gold bezel measuring 9.6x6.8mm, the magnified view of the carving details is amazing. There are no hallmarks but it has been tested at 10K yellow gold, a preferred carat for rings of this period as 10K offered longevity.
This cameo is a depiction of a "modern day" woman of this late Victorian Period. By the late 19th century, the heavy mourning jewelry, large scale brooches, rings and necklaces were giving way to smaller, lighter and more dainty designs. Jewelry overall was becoming less visible in the daytime, with larger pieces reserved for evening and special events. Women were taking on a more active lifestyle, with some even working. They wanted jewelry to be more versatile and comfortable, yet still feminine and beautiful. And this sweet ring perfectly epitomizes those desires.
This is a banded agate stone carving and not a doublet. Carvings of this size, especially in hardstone, were difficult tasks. To this very day, a cameo carver will charge considerably more for small carvings under 1". This stone measures just under 3/8" tall and would have been a challenge to the most skilled master carver. Gemstones were the original canvas for cameo carving and are the most difficult medium compared to their softer counterparts, shell and coral.
The smooth bezel measures 9.6x6.8mm, with the cameo itself measuring 8.6x6.6mm. The exposed stone rises under about 5mm from the bezel. When the light hits the rich whisky hued base strata, the color flash is fascinating. When candled to the light, the base strata lights up light an intense sunset.
This ring is in pristine condition, with no smoothing to the carving nor are there any chips (perfect nose) to the white cameo strata. There are no nicks or nibbles to the edges of the base strata and the cameo is firm in the bezel.
The original quality and pristine condition of this ring make it an excellent choice for gift giving, but do not forget to treat yourself! While I myself wear a variety of large to small scale jewelry, this particular ring as captured my heart and I think it will have the same effect on you! At first glance, the proportions seemed to small. However, I decided to give this ring a test run for a few days before offering. Surprise to me, this is ring is no shrinking violet despite its dainty measurements. The intricate carving and light show on my hand is fun and commands attention. And, yes, it received numerous accolades from friends and strangers, even at the post office, no less. Coupled with its super comfortable fit, this ring is perfect for any woman, even those with a crazy on the go lifestyle. It won't catch or drag across your clothing, or even that load of laundry you are doing! (Be forewarned, you will forget you are wearing it.)
This precious ring will be delivered in a lovely new presentation case, perfect for gift giving and storage, along with a copy of our easy hardstone cameo care instructions.
Gender: Female, Age Group: Adult, Color: gold/brown/white, Size: 7.5 - 2.1 grams
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