This beautiful antique Belle Epoque shell cameo in 14k gold showcases a lovely maiden as she sits in the garden admiring herself in her hand mirror. Her attendant gracefully lifts her gown to keep it from touching the ground, all the while gazing off in the distance. The maiden, on the other hand, appears very pleased with the image she sees. One can easily imagine this scene as a reality or a fantasy and it is quite appealing to consider a peaceful afternoon, in a lovely garden, where one's only concern is how lovely do I appear in the mirror? This is a romantic and perhaps sentimental piece of late Belle Epoque jewelry, harking back to different times and places, different moments and moods.
The contrasting colors selected for this cameo are the darker taupe used as the background to a curved and dimensional carving which emerges in the white. The details of the face, hair and foot are nicely done and show very little wear.
The frame is 14k yellow gold, marked K14 on the back with an unidentified makers mark. The frame is simple yet decorated with a subtle detail on the outer rim. It has a hinged bail at the top allowing the piece to be worn both as a pendant and a brooch. The brooch measures 41mm by 33mm and is a lovely, pleasing oval shape. The dimension of the carving measures 13.5mm deep from the lower rim of the frame. While this piece likely dates to the end of the Belle Epoque period, it has been in a private collection for 35 years, rarely worn which explains the mint condition of the shell and the nice detail still very much intact.