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Item: Description: Price:


PROUD MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS ( Antique Victorian Jewelry Shell Cameo Portrait Brooch / Pin or Pendant ):Portrait Cameos had long been commissioned by royalty and the aristocracy. In the late nineteenth century the newly-wealthy of Victorian society began collecting cameo representations of historical figures, such as Shakespeare, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Dante and contemporary notables including the Romantic poets and novelists. This superb Antique Cameo, hand carved of brown shell, is a portrait of Mary Queen of Scots. An oval cameo, set in a 15 KT gold exquisite mount, it depicts Mary in her elaborate attire. (c. 1870-80) She is wearing a delicately carved ruff and her distinctive cap headpiece. This lovely Elizabethan lady is adorned with gorgeous jewelry – note the wonderful earring and beaded necklaces. Mary is wearing a tiny heart pendant and a cross suspended from a chain, symbols of her faith. She was eventually beheaded in the reign of Elizabeth I. (Mary was born in 1542 and died in 1587.) The 15 KT (jeweler tested) bezel set double mount has an glass covered compartment on the reverse side, now empty but you could add a photo or a hair memento. The brooch has a C clasp closure and a large ring at the top that will hold a chain if you wish to wear it as a pendant. Highly sought after by collectors, this regal and elegant Mary Queen of Scots Cameo Brooch is an unforgettable example of a master carver’s art, as well as the jewelers fabulous setting. Make a space in your jewelry box because this Queen Cameo belongs there!

Condition: Excellent. (Chain not included.)
Size: Just over 2” high, 1 3/4” wide, 3/8” deep.



HEAVENLY ANGEL ( Antique Victorian Jewelry Angel Shell Cameo Brooch / Pin ): This “heavenly “ Antique Shell Cameo should please all angel lovers. In this hand carved Victorian Cameo (c. 1870) an angel, hands crossed over his heart, gazes rapturously as if awaiting something miraculous. Victorians loved all of the heavenly symbols of Christianity and Angels were a special favorite. I have seen this exact pose referred to as “the angel of the annunciation”. The Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Christian celebration of the announcement by the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus, the Son of God. Notice the finely carved wings, folds of the robe and the exquisitely rendered tresses of hair. The outward gaze of the feathered heavenly being (assumed to be Gabriel) seems to promise hope. The 15 KT gold setting is delicately embellished with wire work in the architectural revival style. The pin stem and C clasp closure are the originals. I am reminded of Emily Dickinson's poem: “Hope is a thing with feathers that perches in the soul.” This ethereal Cameo Angel is a timeless beauty to be treasured for generations.

Condition: Excellent.
Size: 1 5/8” high, 1 1/2” wide, 1/4” deep.



IMMORTAL BUTTERFLY BEAUTY ( Antique Victorian Jewelry Shell Cameo Brooch / Pin ): Whenever you see a cameo of a beautiful young woman with butterfly wings you can be pretty sure you are gazing at lovely Psyche – the Greek's personification of the soul and the bride of Cupid. Cupid pricked himself on his own arrow and fell in love with the beautiful mortal Psyche. After many trials, Zeus gave permission for the two lovers to marry and Psyche became an immortal. Psyche in Greek means both “soul” and “butterfly” – the soul was seen as a butterfly which left the body after death. I think it is fascinating that “psyche” remains with us to this day as the term used for our mind or soul. This Victorian Shell Cameo rendering of Psyche (c. 1860-70) is particularly beautiful – both in its masterful carving and in its composition. Note how the drapes and the curls of her hair swirl back around the top leading to her stunningly carved gown and the puffy clouds on which she is perched giving the cameo a circular motion. And please note the small butterfly she is clutching gently against her breast. Delicate and feminine, this cameo is set in an equally delicate and feminine 14KT gold frame. It has a replacement pin stem with a safety catch for extra security. Clutch this Butterfly Beauty and make her you own!

Condition: Very good. There are a few feint stress lines in front of Psyche from the natural drying. They do not show on the front surface, but can be seen on trans-illumination.
Size: 2” high, 1 5/8” wide, 1/4” deep.



TWIN CHARMING CHERUBS ( Antique Edwardian Jewelry Shell Cameo Pierced Earrings ): I have owned and handled several sets of Cameo Earrings over the years, but none as beautifully carved as these two miniature Cherubs. You can get an idea of both the depth and artistry of the them in the first two photos with the side lighting, but our photos don't do them justice. Just look at those tiny toes and fingers! Mirror image figures, such as these, are more difficult to carve than identical “twins”. Most artists are right handed and, thus, like to carve their figures facing to the right. Each Cherub is perched on a rock with a flower and leaves encircling it and another flower hangs above each head. They are set in lovely delicately engraved and pierced gilt frames (solid silver with gold wash). This delicacy probably puts them in the Edwardian Era (1900-1910). The cameo drops swing freely from matching gold chains attached to a gold framed cameo flower blossom fronting a gold shepard's hook ear wire. A wonderful addition to any collection. Don't miss out on these rare Cherub Twin Charmers!

Condition: Excellent.
Size: 2” long, 5/8" wide, 1/4” deep. Drop is 1 1/4” long.



THE DOVES OF PLINY: ( Antique Victorian Jewelry Shell Cameo Brooch / Pin ) This beautifully carved Victorian Shell Cameo (c. 1870-80) showing four doves perched on the edge of a bowl drinking and preening is based on the famous ancient mosaic discovered in the excavation of Hadrian's Villa, Tivoli, Italy, in 1737. The Roman scholar, Pliny the Elder, historian and naturalist among many intellectual pursuits, was a great admirer of this image by the Greek artist, Sosus of Pergamon. He was the most famous mosaic artist of his era (2nd Century BC) at a time when wealthy Greeks displayed their wealth in decorations such as this. It was said to be so realistic that real doves flew into it trying to reach their companions. I have included a photo of Hadrian's Doves. This mosaic is commonly called “Pliny's Doves” or the “Capitoline Doves”. The carving of this cameo is particularly fine and I have tried to show on the side lighted views both the depth and the nice curve of the shell allowing the shelf the bowl sits upon to appear so realistic. It is set in an ornate scroll-type 9KT gold frame with its original C clasp and pin stem. Capture these Doves while you can!

Condition: Excellent. Feint light areas on surface cause the spots seen on the trans-illumination.
Size: Cameo 1 3/4” wide, 1 1/2” high. Total width 2 3/8” wide, 2” high, 3/8” deep.



LAVISH LAVA LADY ( Victorian Jewelry Lava Cameo Pin / Pendant ): Victorians had a passion for travel and heading the list of tourist sights were the newly uncovered ruins of Pompeii. Tourists, then as now, were of a single mind when it came to taking home souvenirs to remind them of their holiday and lava Cameos from Mount Vesuvius became the mementos of choice. Lavish and intricate in its every detail, this gorgeous hand carved gray Antique Lava Cameo depicts a Bacchante, one of the female followers of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine and fertility. (c. 1840-60) Just look at the incredible depth of the relief and the fine undercarving delineating the leaves and grapes twisted through her hair. I like to think of her proper Victorian owner adorned by what is, after all, an ancient party girl! Of particular interest in this Bacchante Cameo is the richly carved animal pelt draped around her shoulders. You can see the whole cat face including nose, eyes, ears, fur and tiny teeth! Set high in a jeweler tested 14KT gold bezel rim mount, the back has a reinforced C clasp and extended pin stem. There is a pendant hook and drop down oval pendant bale making this a very versatile pin or pendant. These portable lava cameo carvings were frequently brought back from Italy unmounted and then set by the owner. Notice the delicate feminine beauty of her face, her perfect nose and her parted lips revealing dainty teeth. One perfect drop earring adorns her right ear. Lava Cameos have dramatically increased in popularity as buyers rediscover the history of lava carving and the perfection of the classical look. This color gray looks well on so many colors and says to viewers that your style is sophisticated and elite.

Condition: Excellent. The top right leaf may have a tiny chip or it may have been carved
that way. Of no significance in a lava piece as fine as this.
Size: 2” high, 1 5/8” wide, 1/2” deep.


NIGHT & DAY IN A DIFFERENT WAY ( Victorian Jewelry Shell Cameo Brooch): It was not uncommon in the Victorian age to see mixed mythological themes not usually grouped together, or literary themes just for the fun of it. This is an unusual hand carved Victorian shell Cameo brooch depicting a lovely goddess representing Night (the poppy she is holding) & Day (the bird she is holding) while extending up above the clouds - representing her immortality. (c. 1840) It is the first time that I have seen a single figure combining the symbols of night and day. The carving is exceptionally fine – the tiny string she holds the bird by is just perfect. If you look closely at the bird you can see its head and beak pointed outwards. The Cameo has a light and playful quality about it. I think that this is one of those rare Cameos displaying an original scenario of the very popular and highly coveted “Day and Night”. She is set in a high carat (14 - 18KT) elaborate gold setting decorated with double scrolls, golden orbs and lovely engraving all the way around. It is a hollow-ware frame with the original C clasp & extended pin stem. I love the way the golden color plays off of the soft brown of the shell. This is a delightful and exquisite antique Cameo that a true collector will appreciate. What a perfect gift for someone – maybe YOU!

Condition: Excellent. Mild wear to back of hollow-ware frame, a few minor separations, not visible from the front.
Size: 2 1/4" high, 1 7/8" wide, 1/4" deep. Cameo - 1 3/4" high, 1 1/2"wide, 1 ¼” deep.


CUPID'S KISS ( Victorian Jewelry Shell Cameo Brooch ): Cupid's kiss of Psyche is one of the favorite subjects of artists. The romantic myth of Cupid and Psyche first appears in written form in “The Golden Ass” by Lucius Apuleius in the 2nd century AD. Psyche was a beautiful mortal princess of whom the goddess Venus is jealous. In her rage she orders her son, Cupid, to make Psyche fall in love with a monster, but instead Cupid falls in love with Psyche. The beautiful mortal was given several trials by Venus, but finally Cupid takes their plea successfully to Jupiter – king of the Roman gods – who gives Psyche immortality so she and Cupid can be wed in heaven. In the dozens of famous works of art based on this myth Cupid and Psyche are variously depicted as young adults, teens or children. In this glorious cameo Cupid is a child and Psych a young woman. This is to illustrate that Cupid's original attraction to Psyche was not purely physical, but also platonic, for the innocence of childhood does not allow for anything else. Over the years I have gravitated towards collecting mainly cameos based on Greek mythology. My research of each story has provided me with a college course in the subject. Note the very detailed carving of the hair of each in this Victorian Cameo Brooch (c. 1870-90). Psyche has on a slim hairband. (Psyche's style resembles the Empress Josephine.) Look at Cupid's little fingers gently holding Psyche by the back of her head and her chin as he kisses her. I find it all very sweet and moving. And I love how they float in the intricate cloud formations. I suspect the clouds are saving the prudish Victorians from seeing Psyche's bare breasts. This cameo resides in a 14KT (marked) gold setting. There is a replacement pin stem and safety clasp on the reverse in excellent working order. The rare subject matter, as well as the beauty of this cameo, makes it highly collectable. It's hard to resist such a beautiful and rare cameo.

Condition: Excellent.
Size: 2 1/8” high, 1 7/8” wide, 3/8” deep.



LOVELY LAVA LADY CAMEO – “ASHES TO ASHES” ( Victorian Jewelry Lava Cameo Brooch / Pin ): Out of ashes steps this lovely, rare full figured lady. (c. 1840) Hand carved, this female image may be Hebe, daughter of Zeus, whose task was to feed and water Zeus when he appeared in his guise as an eagle. Hera also was responsible to provide food and drink for special guests. Here she holds an amphora for water or wine and a tray of pears. She has wonderful movement in her draped dress and a flawlessly delicate face. You can see here entire head – carved with so much dimensionality that all is revealed except for the small attached area in back. Her head is turned as if someone has called for her attention. She wears a diadem crown and tiny slippers. Set in a 14KT Rose Gold mount, the back has a C clasp closure and an extended pin back. A flawless and rare Antique Lava Cameo, she is gray – the color of ashes!

Condition: Excellent. Tiny chip in toe of her right slipper.
Size: Large. 2" high, 1 5/8" wide, 1/2 deep.


HEAVENLY “MADONNA OF THE CHAIR” ( Victorian Jewelry Shell Cameo Brooch / Pin ): This Museum quality hand carved shell Antique Cameo Brooch (c. 1870-80) depicts, in incredible detail, “The Madonna of the Chair”. The original oil painting was done by the Italian painter, Raphael, in 1514. It is one of the most famous of Raphael’s works – a painting of the Renaissance era. In this heavenly Cameo the Madonna engages the viewers directly as she sits protectively holding her young son, the infant Christ Child. On the right, Raphael reveals the figure of Christ’s young cousin, the boy St. John the Baptist. The master carver of this Cameo has shown the sweet embrace between mother and son, the prototype of motherly love. The child, Jesus, snuggles against his mother, while the young St. John holds his hands in prayer and cradles a cross in his arm. St. John and the Madonna both have delicate halos, while the baby Jesus has tiny rays of light above his head. A turned spindle of the “chair” is seen at the left of the carving. A stunning large Cameo set in a 9KT gold engraved frame with four sets of buckle and clasp ornaments (we belong together). See side views and frontal blowup to appreciate the intricacy of the buckles. The original C clasp closure is in place, but a shorter pin stem replaces the original elongated pin stem. I have included a photo of the original painting for comparison. You will treasure this highly coveted Cameo and its magnificent setting. A gift to a loved one or for yourself….a gift that will be treasured today, tomorrow and by future generations.

Condition: Excellent.
Size: A large Cameo measuring 2 3/4" high, 2 1/4" wide, 1/4" deep.


FEATHERED WINGS OF HOPE ( Victorian Jewelry Angel Cameo Pin / Brooch ): This “heavenly” Antique Cameo Brooch should please angel lovers. In this hand carved Victorian Shell Cameo an angel rises above the clouds, hands crossed over her heart. (c. 1860-80) A large anchor – the symbol of Hope – dominates the scene. Victorians loved all of the heavenly symbols of Christianity. Angels were a special favorite. This feathered heavenly being gazes outward and seems to promise hope for a lost loved one or hope that the mortal beloved has passed into heaven. This could well be a Mourning Cameo. Its soft background is especially serene and the subject is delicately rendered. Notice the finely carved wings and the dominance of the anchor. I am reminded of Emily Dickinson’s poem “Hope is a thing with feathers, that perches in the soul”. The tested gold plate over Sterling Silver frame is embellished with delicate engraving. The original C clasp and elongated pin stem are still in place. This ethereal Cameo Angel with her gossamer wings is a timeless beauty to be treasured for generations. Condition: Excellent. No stress marks. Size: 2 1/8” high, 1 3/4” wide, 1/4” deep. SOLD!
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MUSEUM QUALITY MEDUSA CAMEO ( Victorian Shell Cameo Brooch ): This breath-taking Victorian (1840 - 1860) Medusa Cameo is the work of a true artist. Set in an elaborate 10KT gold mounting, this shell cameo depicts one of the most sought after mythological images, Medusa. Poseidon fell in love with the beautiful mortal but the wrathful Athena turned her into a monster -- Medusa was one of the three Gorgons: And they are three, the Gorgons, each with wings / And snaky hair, most horrible to mortals, / Whom no man shall behold and draw again / The breath of life. Whoever looked at them was turned instantly to stone. Because of this, Medusa on cameos almost always has downcast eyes. Though of classical inspiration, there was a significant and interesting change in the appearance of the awesome Medusa profile made in the 19th century. Her terrifying aspect was transformed into a meek and innocent expression. The snakes in her hair, distasteful to Victorian ladies, were softened to resemble a headdress and necklace, while the wings in her crown were folded to conjure up visions of fairy tales and angels. This "tamed" Medusa became the exotic favorite of Victorians. Quality pieces, such as this exquisite Medusa, have become increasingly difficult to find at any price. This is THE cameo to own. There is a C clasp on the back with an added safety guard that slides over the pin. Condition: Excellent. Size: 2 3/8" high, 1 7/8" wide. SOLD!
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WINGED NIGHT ( Victorian Jewelry Cameo Brooch ): This Victorian Cameo brooch (c. 1860) is one of my very favorite designs. Taken from a marble bas-relief by Neo-classical sculptor, Bertel Thorvaldsen, (executed in 1815) it remained a favorite subject for cameos throughout the 19th Century. The winged figure of Nyx, goddess of Night, carries in her arms her two sleeping children – the young gods, Hypnos and Thanatos. Hypnos – the god of Sleep, son of Night and brother of Death – slumbers on one shoulder and Thanatos – the personification of Death – rests on his mother’s other shoulder. Nyx, herself, is accompanied by the nocturnal owl. There is a companion bas-relief that depicts “Day”. This is an extremely lovely carving with delicate wing feathers and gracefully swirling draperies. The peak of the shell has been used to accent the face of Nyx and the two slumbering infants. There is a ribbon twist surrounding the caramel shaded bezel set Cameo. The setting is gold filled. It appears that the safety chain is a later addition. You may remove it if you wish. The C clasp is original. Condition: Excellent. A few natural striations not visible to the naked eye. Size: 2” wide, 1 3/4” wide, 3/8” deep. SOLD!
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CHARIOT OF FIRE ( Victorian Cameo Brooch ):  This elaborate Victorian Shell Cameo Brooch is literally fabulous, for it illustrates the fable or myth of Phaëthon, son of the Greek sun god, Apollo, and the mortal woman Clymene. Phaëthon took advantage of Apollo’s promise to fulfill any request he made and demanded the privilege of driving the Chariot of the Sun all alone. Of course, he lost control of the fiery tempered horses and nearly destroyed the earth before falling to his death. The intricately carved Cameo shows the four horses of the sun plunging off their course as Phaëthon pulls ineffectively at the reins. (c. 1870 - 1880) Bezel set in a 14KT gold mounting engraved with flowers and leaves at the four compass points and edged with rope twist wires, it retains its original C clasp and safety chain. The Victorian extended pin stem closes securely. This Cameo is full of excitement and drama. Condition: Excellent. There are a few light stress marks near the horses heads and hooves, but they are only visible when held to a strong light source. Size: Brooch measures 2 1/2" wide, 1 3/4" high. Cameo alone: 1 3/4 wide, 1 3/8" high. SOLD!
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MYTHICAL CORAL BEAUTY ( Vintage Coral Cameo Pin / Pendant ): Coral presents a certain mystery: first it was pronounced a mineral, then a vegetable and today it is declared an animal. Regardless of its nature, coral has been a symbol of beauty, hope and protection against evil since classical times. This vintage Coral Cameo Brooch / Pendant is of breath-taking quality - a remarkable example of high relief hand carving in flawless condition. This finely detailed beautiful woman with stalks of wheat in her hair represents the Greek mythological goddess Demeter. (Roman - Ceres) The goddess of the harvest and fertility was both powerful and popular. Notice the elaborately carved hair style and the perfection of the tiny beaded necklace and earrings. The color of this Cameo is a very deep salmon. Coral is a product of sea life and is a soft material. When carving, the waste is great, which accounts in part for the high cost of a true coral Cameo. I would date this piece to about 1910 - 1920, Edwardian style. I say that because of the early style safety catch. The 14KT gold frame has a fine rope twist at the base of the bezel setting. There is a swivel pendant loop so that the piece can be worn as a pendant with the addition of a bale. Coral Cameos are highly prized and highly fashionable. Condition: Excellent. No chips or cracks. Size: 1 7/8" high, 1 1/2" wide. SOLD!

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