Spectacular c1860's Italian hand carved carnelian shell Flora cameo brooch / pendant. A wonderful museum quality antique Italian natural sardonyx shell cameo. It is unusually finely hand carved, in particularly high relief from a rounded shell, to depict a classical Flora.
However, the face is less of the typical Victorian classical face and more a portrait as is seen in early cameo pieces. Her calm face is realistically portrayed, she has flowers above her netted hair, her clothing is diaphanous and there is stunningly fine detail to all three. The carving shows superb depth and intricate detail together with masterful use of colour. This type of shell is prized for its beautiful layering in shades of cream and apricot and sepia and it takes great skill to exploit these layers as artistically as we see here. It's in a solid 9 carat gold (stamped) beveled mount for wear as a brooch/pin, or pendant.
The cameo dates from around 1860 and is in exceptional condition with only very minor high detail wear and some tarnishing to the mount. The roll-over pin is in steel as seen in many of these pieces.
Dimensions: 1 3⁄4 x 1 1⁄2 inches ; weight is 10.8 grams ;
This most superb early cameo is a rare portrait piece in lovely condition. Wearable history.