We are thrilled to present this wonderfully unique antique cameo. It is framed by a brilliant, perfectly-round 9k rose-gold bezel-setting.
What makes this cameo so exceptional is that is is assayed in Chester and also the image is of a Bacchante; both of which are highly collectible and rare in cameo jewelry.
The golden bezel was manufactured in Chester, England in 1913, which makes it a rare find as the Chester Assay Office was permanently closed in 1962.
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 as 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 maenad or Baccahnte, a classical figure from Greek mythology. Maenads were said to be the handmaidens of the god Dionysus.
Maenads 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.
A simple "C"-style brooch clasp on the reverse makes the piece easy to wear and display.
There a number of die-stamped maker's mark on the reverse of the rose-gold frame, the first of which reads "J.G".
This is followed by the mark of the Chester Assay Office (three sheaves of wheat surrounding a sword inside a shield-shaped mark).
Next is a "9" and the number ".375", both of which indicate that the piece is 9 karat gold.
Finally, the date mark (a capital "N") represents the year of manufacture, which in this case is 1913.
The exterior of the bezel (near the bottom) also features the "9" and ".375" purity marks.
The piece has been professionally tested to ensure the purity of the gold.
Though it shows only a few very light surface scratches, this bewitching cameo remains in outstanding antique condition.
Measurements: Cameo is 1" in diameter and 3/8" deep (to back of brooch clasp) Weight: 5.2 grams (0.19 oz)