Featured French Glass Cameos

Discussion in 'Jewelry' started by Bronwen, Oct 17, 2023.

  1. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    In a recent thread started by Simona a cameo was presented that, based on the original photos and description, I expected to be hardstone of the sardonyx type. Then Mirana produced evidence that what we were looking at was molded glass.

    My initial reaction was if it was glass, then it was probably, as so many glass cameos are, Czech. But the delicacy, the refinement of this class of cameo make me think they should be attributed to those masters of gorgeous glass, the French. Plus I think I bought one from France, which is not the source of most of my collection.

    This thread is meant as an addition to the cameo reference material available on the site. I did not want to hijack Simona's thread with this volume of stuff.

    Simona's is the first of these I have seen mounted on a background that mimics sardonyx:

    Glass Persephone.jpg

    What I have seen over time, although not so much of late, are glass cameos with a 2-layer base (the base layers seem fused to one another) under a figure that is glued in place, meant to look like tricolor agate pieces that have a red bottom layer topped with pale lavender, and a white figure. The actual stone looks like this from the edge:

    3 color agate edge view adj.JPG

    The glass simulants:

    3 color glass 4 front adj.jpg and again, cleaner, 3 color glass 5 adj.jpg French 3Q A.jpg French1A.jpg

    Here is one, sadly fractured, showing the layer underneath:

    French 2A.jpg French 2C.jpg

    Sometimes the layers are black, blue and white:

    3 color glass 6 adj.jpg

    I had my fingers crossed about this ring, until it came apart while undergoing the scrubbing it badly needed (warning here: adhesive on old ones may be water soluble):

    Glass cameo ring 1A.jpg

    Anyone have others to show?

    @Simona Buhus @mirana @bluumz @KSW and @Any Jewelry
  2. KSW

    KSW Well-Known Member

    Great thread! Following with interest :)
  3. kyratango

    kyratango Bug jewellery addiction!

    What a whole bunch of beautiful examples!
    And, as usual, such educational interest with all your knowledge:woot:
    Thank you for sharing all that:kiss:
    Bronwen, Chinoiserie, komokwa and 2 others like this.
  4. mirana

    mirana Well-Known Member

    Thank you for preparing this for us! I haven't seen as much research into them and some (as imgs 4 and 5) are really beautifully done examples.

    I knew mine was glass, but I hadn't seen her mold before and really enjoyed her interesting frame and composition.


    Her wheat is painted silver, her veil and jewelry are painted gold and her hair is a gloss contrasting her matte skin. Her veil is actually chipped, which confirmed my suspicions on her material. She is glued to her background, which is very mirror shiny.


    I had thought she was maybe mounted to something other than glass, as the back is open and texture quite grainy, but it may just be glass after all?


    Here you can see the separation between the layers, and the glue.

    Also including the all-black version of the cameo Simona posted:
  5. gauntlettgems

    gauntlettgems Well-Known Member

    Lovely pieces
    mirana and Bronwen like this.
  6. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    Love your Ceres, so involved for 'just glass.' With her painted accents, she is the glass version of en habillé. And the frame complements the metallic touches so well. I know I've seen her before - that star earring sticks in the mind - but do not seem ever to have saved an image. I'd rather have a high quality glass piece than a run-of-the-mill 'real' cameo of shell that has been cut with a fork.

    If all you had was a photo of the front of the Ceres, & you were unsure whether the cameo was glass or stone, the clue is the way the head is not quite centered in the tight space she has been allowed. The right tip of the truncation is right up against the edge, something you would not see in a non-assembled piece. The back is not shiny, but does show the irregularities to be seen on the surface of a hot liquid that has cooled.

    The black Persephone/Proserpina (also known as Kore, daughter), although molded, is evidently not glass. You would never see the findings screwed/tacked directly into glass in this way. @mirana What is the material? Thanks for bringing her over to join the conversation.
  7. bluumz

    bluumz Quite Busy

    I have no glass cameos (French or otherwise) but now you are tempting me!
    Any Jewelry, kyratango and Bronwen like this.
  8. mirana

    mirana Well-Known Member

    Thank you! I'm glad you too appreciate a piece for it's look, even if it's not precious metals and stone. "Cut with a fork" genuinely made me LOL because it's SO TRUE. I can also usually pick up an interesting costume bit for little money which is nice to offset the more expensive cousins...:greedy:

    I have seen another mold with a star earring, and a Ceres in a similar shape, but not this exact one yet. I'm glad you're pointing out what I took into consideration to determine her material before purchase. Of course the seller didn't give a side view and she was dirty. I could tell she was painted, which is not likely on a stone piece. The too close to the edge "carving" of her neck I thought was a big giveaway. I also thought her frame did not look precious. I think she was $25 so I determined that's a price I'd pay for a unique Victorian costume piece regardless, so an easy check. I'm sure some of the ones you posted wanted hardstone prices! :cyclops:

    The all-black Persephone photos are a cropped a bit close and it's a trick of the eye on color. She's actually inset into a closed back silver frame mount. Seller says "onyx or glass" so definitely the later based on what we know. Simona did well because this seller wants $125!
  9. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    Ah, now that you've told me, I can see it.
    mirana likes this.
  10. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    I have no glass cameos but think it is great that you started this thread. Some lovely examples there.
    Glass jewellery goes back to pre-historic times, and has always been valued.
    With the rise of the middle classes more of these beauties were made and appreciated. Not every middle class lady could afford the real deal, and glass was a good material. And since paste was even worn by the aristocracy, why not glass cameos?
    Bronwen, mirana and kyratango like this.
  11. kyratango

    kyratango Bug jewellery addiction!

    Here is my contribution to the glass cameos thread:happy:
    It was already posted in the kyratisations if I remember well. :bucktooth:
  12. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    Yes, she was, with a kyratisation fit for a queen.:)
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  13. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    Once again France takes the prix for exquisite care, even when using a common material.
    kyratango and Any Jewelry like this.
  14. kyratango

    kyratango Bug jewellery addiction!

    Another French glass cameos post, a pinchbeck cased demi parure, brooch and earrings, with black ladies on white glass.
    Sold this summer on Hubby's Ebay:)
    Screenshot_20231103_173206_Gallery_196863255495036.jpg Resized_Screenshot_20231103_173212_Gallery_196862974151575.jpeg
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