This fabulous antique stick pin is set with a neo-classical carved onyx cameo dating from the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century and would have added the perfect finishing touch to a gentleman's neckwear. A very fine example, the subject portrayed is the bust of a Greek or Roman youth, his head facing forward rather than in profile. He has quite a broad face with strong features and a slightly knitted brow. I suspect this is the portrait of a specific individual rather than an idealised youth, possibly a young Roman emperor (Nero?).
The carving is wonderfully three-dimensional like a miniature sculpture - I don't think my photos really capture what a powerful piece this is for its size. The setting tests as 18 carat gold, although I cannot rule out the pin itself being in lower-carat gold for strength. The whole piece exudes quality and it even has an integral loop for attaching a safety chain.
Condition is generally lovely, but I have to mention a barely discernible hairline - probably going through the stone and just about visible on the back surface under a loupe - which forms a short arc in the top left corner. This is only really noticed under very high magnification and the cameo is secure and stable within its mount. The overall size of this rare piece is 71mm x 14mm (2 3/4" x 1/2") approx.
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