Antique 19th brooch Victorian carved shell cameo Medieval King and Queen. Victorian Cameo Brooch Royal Couple - LARGE.Here is an absolutely gorgeous mid-Victorian era cameo set in typical rolled gold mount. Cameo is a carved shell portrait what appears to be a Medieval King and Queen sitting on thrones, holding hands with an open book before the King figure and another book on the wall next to him. Domed high relief on the brooch. Measures 2 1/4 x just over 2 1/2" in height, with period correct tube hinge and "c clasp closure. There is a tiny scratch on the Queen's skirt with a tiny bit of dirt in it - I have not tried to clean it but believe it would clean up nicely. Really a rare carving and definitely a collector's piece! Cameos, valued since antiquity as engraved gems, were exceedingly popular during the Georgian and Victorian periods. Many different materials were used for carving cameos. Shell was a popular medium for use in cameo carving because it was light in weight and therefore didn't limit the size of the piece. Tropical helmet shell was extensively used for its good color contrast and depth of layers.
The Cassus rufus variety was white and pink, the Cassus madagascariensis had white and brown layers. The depth of the white layer in the helmut shell was sufficient to allow very high relief with lots of detail. The myriad of cameo subjects included figures and scenes from Greek and Roman history and mythology. Renaissance art, classical sculpture, famous paintings and official portraits also provided inspiration.
Religious imagery included Christ, the angel of the annunciation, PAX, and the crown of thorns. Cameos were considered "smart" jewelry because of the intellectual nature of the subject being carved. Tourists on "Grand Tour" holiday, viewing the full sized artworks, were delighted to take home a wearable miniature version as a remembrance. The most common cameo motif is the portrait -- and early in the 19th century, cameos started to feature an anonymous Roman woman wearing no jewelry. "Rolled Gold" is the term given to jewelry which is gold-filled or composed of a solid layer of gold bonded with heat and pressure to a base metal, usually brass.
Rolled gold jewelry is usually made by rolling out sheets from which the jewelry is molded or formed. This way of making jewelry was patented in England in 1817 and quickly became a prime source for better-made and higher-quality costume jewelry in the Victorian era. In the United States, it is more commonly referred to as "Gold Plate". Always pack very carefully in new box!
This item is in the category "Jewelry & Watches\Vintage & Antique Jewelry\Brooches & Pins". The seller is "vintage_everyday" and is located in this country: US.
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