Pearls and Cameos - A Great Combination

Wow, lots of pretties here!!!

BW, after looking around online, I think you are right about my cameo and it is all shell. Thanks!
You're welcome. My mother has a ton of cameos, so I've seen all kinds.
Me too! So glad it was bumped. My grandmother had cameos, which I think my aunt now has. I must remember to view them again. Each one of those sculptural portraits has a great story attached to it :)
My Mom's cameos. My sister kept one and my brother kept one for his wife, but I got the rest of them.

Mom bought carved shell cameos and Wedgwood in the swinging 60's in the Portobello Road Antiques Market in England. Everyone wanted Mod, but Mom loved the Regency and Victoriana. The top two are cameo habillé (the ladies are wearing real diamond jewelry.


A rustic scene (Rebecca at the well?) mounted in Pinchbeck. Pinchbeck is a form of brass, an alloy of copper and zinc, mixed in proportions so that it closely resembles gold in appearance. It was invented in the 18th century by Christopher Pinchbeck, a London clockmaker.


It swivels to reveal Victorian hair work on the back under glass. The swivel pin is loose, so I don't think this is wearable since the center tends to fall out.


Cameo's are pretty.

I have one my Mom gave me that her Aunt gave her so its old!

Nice ornate early white gold so its about 1930's & could be handmade

Lovely bow on top makes it extra special.

The lady looks sort of greek or italian by the nose?

Not sure if its marked may be on bale (its in the safe deposit box) & I never tested it but since its white gold...really think so I know it can't be before 20's,

Seems to be a lighter pink shell? I think its a bit darker as that pics looks off color to me. I might try to color correct it frommemory.


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And here is a close up profile of the black cameo, which is an old piece. I'm not sure what the stone is, maybe agate?View attachment 47784
And a shot of the back of the black oneView attachment 47785

My guess would be lava. Cameos in lava stone were common in the area around Naples and some were high relief. The lava stones vary in colour from a pale cream to dark black.
The coral one is beautiful.

Lava stone, not so much, but I know they were popular for mourning jewelry.
I loved finding this thread revived last night and learning all the particulars and history of cameos you all mentioned. I love cameos, especially with pearls.. we have worked the two together in the past. Here is a photo of some of my favorites from my collection. These are all modern (no fantastic history stories here)... but the snail I adore, and the face at the bottom is kind of play piece by a master cameo carver... It is carved of black pearl shell and one day maybe I will make something with it, until then I just enjoy seeing it on our worktable everyday. The brooch is something I made a really long time ago, but instead of setting each little tiny pearl as I asked the jeweler to do, they "cut corners" and simply glued them to the cameo... unfortunately rendering it unsaleable until it is reworked.
I recently discovered some ultra modern cameo makers online.. that not only grabbed my attention but kind of restored my faith in humanity. *spoiler alert* some of them are not for children or the faint of heart... but I love the mismatched pairs, and how they're keeping this art form alive, fashionable, edgy and ooohhh I want some.


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Hi S-

I am glad to see you pop in! I was researching Labradorite and its historical uses, when I came across the carved cameos, even though those parures don't have pearls I thought they were interesting enough to share here. That Labradorite Cameo set I can only imagine the flash of colors in certain lights, must've been striking enough to be carved into such a set.

This is one of the images that started my search I covet it: Minerva

Labradorite Monkey Face

I really really dig animal themed jewelry and in the form of Cameos even more so. Those modern Cameos are amazing...such eye candy. Thanks for sharing the link. We had a friend that had her cat immortalized in a shell Cameo while they toured Italy for 3 months or so. The master carver used a photograph. He does not normally do that type of work but apparently they knew someone who knew someone as the story goes.

I loved finding this thread revived last night and learning all the particulars and history of cameos you all mentioned. I love cameos, especially with pearls.. we have worked the two together in the past.
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aghghhh.. ha ha black pearl dude.. those two rings are SO good.. I definitely lean more monkey but I bet the flash in the other is worth price. Love those! Thanks for sharing those. Logging off here before I start a diamond eye monkey carving bidding war!
Oh, that little monkey face, sigh ... thank goodness there's no bidding war, as it sold ... for WAY more than the auction estimate. I didn't see a date, so not sure when that auction ended.

I have a couple of old cameos, nothing earthshattering, but I love them. We went to a rather high end cameo carving workshop in Italy; it was fascinating. I did buy a small one, which I gave to my sister. It was considered a "learner's piece" and the saleswoman scoffed, but I liked it's simple flowers and smaller size, and wearability as a pendant or a pin. My sister was thrilled.

Sarah your cameos are so lovely ... the snail is darling, the flowers beautiful, those gorgeous graceful cranes ... all very unique and unusual ... but that FACE ... WOW! It just begs to hang from a "chain" of pearls ... :)