Featured Questions about this cameo. TYIA

Discussion in 'Jewelry' started by gauntlettgems, Feb 27, 2024.

  1. gauntlettgems

    gauntlettgems Well-Known Member

    IMG_2754.jpeg IMG_2755.jpeg IMG_2756.jpeg
    1. What age do you think this is?

    2. Why is there a bail placed in the wrong direction?

    3. Why would they have made this rounded in the back as opposed to flat? I thought it might have opened or something but I don’t see a hinge

    Thank you for any help on this
  2. stracci

    stracci Well-Known Member

    Maybe the cameo is a replacement?
  3. kyratango

    kyratango Bug jewellery addiction!

    Your piece is originally a mourning brooch from mid 19th.
    They held a piece of hair work under a glass, the opening is from the front, as a box lid without hinge, but very difficult to open (sometimes fixed!) because it is very tightly adjusted.
    I don't know why the back is convex... They were nearly all like that.
    The ring is a bail if the brooch is worn in original correct position, horizontally; may be too for for adding a security chain.
    The cameo is not original to the brooch!
    See this one:
  4. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    Kyra has already explained the marriage. The cameo is hand cut helmet shell. There is no generally accepted term for cameos like this one, but I think of them as fantasy village scenes. Have never seen any 2 alike. They seem to be the carver's own composition, using certain stock elements: gnarled trees; old or ruined buildings; a stream; a bridge; a woman or 2; geese; a goat; a few others.

    Could have been that the glass on the brooch was broken. Fortuitously, someone found this cameo, with its sense of yearning, that could be fit into the opening & held down with the original frame.

    As for the convex backs, I suppose it could be a way of disguising & smoothing out what would otherwise be a back surface far from flat. It's not a true bail; someone has added a large jump ring to what was originally an anchor for a safety chain.
  5. gauntlettgems

    gauntlettgems Well-Known Member

    Wow! Would have never guessed it was reworked into this cameo. Shame it isn’t totally original Thank you for the help. I was right on my thoughts on age and that it was likely a mourning piece. Trying to learn! You guys are great
  6. gauntlettgems

    gauntlettgems Well-Known Member

    The safety chain thing makes more sense. Ty!
    kyratango, Bronwen and stracci like this.
  7. bluumz

    bluumz Quite Busy

    IMHO, it would no longer be considered a mourning piece. A "non-mourning" cameo was put into a mourning setting. (Others may feel differently. :))
    I do love those old settings!
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2024
    kyratango and Bronwen like this.
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