Webster's Dictionary defines a "masterpiece" as "a work done with extraordinary skill or artistic achievement." I have been fortunate enough lately to acquire several jewels which meet this criteria, and I am proud to present the "Masterpiece collection" for the consideration of my Ruby Lane clientele!
Dating to c.1840-1850, this one-of-a-kind bracelet qualifies for Masterpiece status on so many levels! Firstly, it is set with a magnificent, large red banded agate cameo of Augustus Caesar; secondly, it is completely hand-engraved, and thirdly, it is a one-of-a-kind jewel which was likely crafted to display the new invention of the gold electroplating process in 1840! I suspect that this piece was crafted in England for an exhibition, as it is NOT gold, but the workmanship which has gone into its creation far exceed any high-karat gold example I have ever seen, in reference books or out!
Measuring 7 1/4" wearable length, this jewel is really two Masterpieces in one; the cameo is museum-quality in itself! Measuring 1 1/4" long x 1" wide x 1/4" thick, this hand-carved cameo features the left-facing profile of Augustus Caesar. The Emperor is depicted as a man in the prime of his life, with a strong and recognizable profile, lidded and drilled eyes, and a laurel wreath cunningly carved from the red portion of the stone! The image of Caesar is marble-white, and the figure is undercut, displaying the outstanding skill of the artist. The background is mottled red, and the contrast is nothing short of breath-taking!
This cameo is securely mounted into an open-backed claw- and collet setting, which in turn is set in a scalloped electroplated gold frame embellished with intricate hand-engraved scrolls. The body of the bracelet is meticulously hand-wrought, with each open-linked frame pin set top and bottom to the solid, Rococo revival plaques. Every surface of this jewel is profusely hand-engraved with roses, forget-me-nots, scrolls, and acanthus leaves; this manner of decoration was extremely laborious, and is typically found on high-karat gold jewelry of the 1840s. The cameo in its frame measures 1 3/4" x 1 1/2". The body of the bracelet measures 3/4" wide at the sides, gently tapering back to 1/2" wide at the back. The bracelet retains its original hand-cut "tongue-in-groove" hidden clasp and safety chain, both of which are in perfect working order. It weighs in at a substantial 55.19 grams.
Best of all, this jewel appears as if it has never been worn, further indicating to me that it was a piece made for exhibition rather than public sale. The cameo is perfect, without chips or cracks, and the heavy, high-karat gilding to the bracelet is 100% intact. I intend to do further research on this piece, and if it is published or recorded, I will post my findings, but one thing is for certain: this is a one-of-a-kind bracelet which not only looks magnificent on the wrist, but is an incredibly special example of early Victorian jewelry!
If you collect the ULTIMATE in antique cameos or bracelets, this investment-worthy example will make a thrilling and highly-wearable addition to your collection! This is the sort of bracelet (and cameo) that I would love to keep for my own collection, but one cannot keep it all and pay the bills, so let my loss be your gain! This jewel would also make the Valentine's Day gift for a lifetime for that extra-special lady, and will be shipped in a gift box. Do not miss this Masterpiece; up to 90-day layaway is available, and USPS Priority mail shipping is FREE!
Your Specialists in Fine Jewelry and Decorative Arts from Antiquity - 1900. Est. 1987.
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