This beautiful antique cameo features masterful hand-carved detail and dazzling 14 karat yellow-gold plating.
The quality and value of this cameo rest in the quality and intricacy of the carving as well as the image of Bacchante.
The carving is exceptional in its detailing and intricacy.
As you can see, the cameo is quite large, measuring two and half inches tall.
Cameos have a storied history that dates as far back as the Roman Empire. A cameo is typically created by carving a high (or positive) relief image into stone, glass, coral or, in the case of this piece, shell.
This particular piece is carved from a piece of Helmet Shell, a tropical genus of shell renowned for its marbled pink, brown, and white colors.
The figure depicted is a Bacchante, a classical figure from Greek mythology.
The Bacchante were said to be the handmaidens of the god Dionysus.
They were often portrayed with grapes and grape-leaves in their hair as Dionysus is the Greek god of (among other things) wine.
The lady pictured in this cameo is rendered in extraordinary detail, with tendrils of realistic hair, adorned with grapes and grape leaves dangling from her flowing tresses.
As you can see, the cameo is carved in high relief and provides an exquisite example of the classical themes that pervaded the style during the Victorian era.
The shell is embraced by a wide gold-plated bezel which features some delicate, hand-engraved embellishment.
The outer-frame consists of a wide band of slightly-domed metal which boasts beautiful hand-wrought texture and floral designs.
The original, old-fashioned "C"-clasp was professionally replaced years ago with a newer roll-over safety clasp which tests for 14 karat gold.
There is a hinged bale at the top of the brooch on the reverse, giving you a lot of great options for how you wear or display the piece.
At the bottom of the frame, you will find another twisted piece of wire, likely from a former bale or loop.
There is a fair amount of oxidization to the gold-plating as well as a few minor surface scratches here and there.
There is a small gap between the shell and the gold-plated frame; some darkening and light verdigris can be seen in the space.
Other than some minor cosmetic issues, this exquisite cameo remains in very good antique condition.
Measurements: Brooch is 2 ½" tall, 2 1/8" wide and 5/8" deep, Cameo is 2 1/8" tall and 1 5/8" wide Weight: 24 grams (0.85 oz)