We are delighted to offer this spectacular large antique 18ct gold shell cameo made c.1860, most likely in France.
Upon first glance, its large size, distinguished proportions and opulent gold mount is striking indeed and conveys an unmistakably majestic impression. Whilst undeniably impressive and impressionable even to the untrained eye, it is upon closer inspection that its true splendour and intricacy can be fully appreciated.
Taking a look at the overall design, while cameos typically focus on the quality of the shell engraving, this particular brooch features a most ornate and intricate frame made from 18ct gold. A cartouche-like shape is formed with exceptional cast acanthus scrolls on either side with additional hand-engraved and embossed floral decorations.
It is, to say the least, quite uncommon to find such a level of goldsmithing and artistry on a solid gold article/jewel, let alone a cameo border (in comparison to fine silverware for example). Naturally, the more surface, thickness and weight required to decorate in solid gold dramatically increases the cost and, this in turn demonstrates the 'no-costs-cut' and affluent manner in which this cameo was crafted.
In spite of all of the impressive artistry mentioned above, the pinnacle of this brooch is perhaps the shell cameo itself. A sideways portrait of Greek mythological figures Zeus, Hera and Hermes has been finely engraved in the manner of the finest marble statues.
Lifelike expressions, depth of field and intricate details have been carefully engraved; the complex and naturalistic shapes of Zeus' beard and laurel leaves that contrast the blemish-free skin is particularly impressive.
What is perhaps even more remarkable and, to a degree, miraculous is the fact that this cameo has survived in such excellent condition for over 150+ years, starting from when the conch shell would have likely been acquired from a different continent by sailing across the Atlantic, followed by a skilled engraver toiling away hours and finally a dexterous goldsmith completing the cameo brooch.
All of the combined factors make this cameo brooch a wonderful collectable piece of 19th-century antique jewellery history which would not only make for an excellent display piece but an inimitable and breathtaking brooch to wear on special occasions. Not only would the aesthetic be impressionable, but as a conversation starter, this brooch may serve as the perfect occasion to share your discerning historical/antiques passion.
The gold mount is unmarked as is common with many articles of this period. As such, we have tested it for 18ct gold.
All of our jewellery will come with a complimentary hard shell gift box with a velvet interior.
6.5cm x 4.5cm
|15.50/0.498 troy oz
Condition: Excellent antique condition with no issues/damage. Very slight age related wear commensurate with age and as expected with antiques of this period.
We aim to overemphasize and state these issues to avoid disappointment and thus please rest assured they are not significant nor affect the usage of the items.
Please refer to the photos for further details.
*Please note: all other items are for display purposes only and this listing is for the item listed in the title only.
We will always ensure your items are packaged with the utmost care and see the delivery through to the end. In the very rare and unfortunate case of non-delivery/courier loss, you are fully covered with us and we will fully refund you.
*Colours of the product may slightly differ from the photos due to different computer screens & lighting conditions*
- Price negotiations may be possible under certain criteria, please contact us via telephone (07578761640) or email (email@example.com) -