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- Late 1800's circa, Victorian mourning Sardonyx shell cameo of Venus and Cupid.
- Size circa 6cm x 6cm. Weight circa 21grams.
- Glass compatment at back which is empty.
- For wear as a brooch. Fastens by means of a hinged pin and 'c' clasp.
- Set in gilted ornate mount. Some old repairs and tarnisihing to frame.
This is a charming compartment cameo brooch dating from around the mid-Victorian era. It is crafted from Sardonyx shell and depicts Venus and Cupid in a classical pose, made popular by John Gibson. The little cupid is seen reaching out to his mother Venus, who in turn affectionately holds out her hand to him whilst putting down her lyre. This particular depiction is crafted in good, sharp relief with moderate detailing, in particular to Venus’ tunic. The topmost white layer is set off very nicely against the smooth, underlying dark chocolate background. The shell appears to be in very good condition but it has some natural internal lines which do not detract from the charm of the carving. It is not a very easy piece to photograph well, so I feel it can be much better appreciated in real life.
The cameo is mounted onto an ornate yellow-gold coloured mount that is probably made from base metal with a gold gilt, most likely gold over copper. There is some tarnishing throughout as well as some old repairs on various parts of the mount, in which the soldering is visible. There is also a missing bauble at 9 o’clock. This piece may have been made as a mourning brooch, or else for a beloved as can be seen from the glass compartment on the back. This may once have held a memento mori or perhaps a photograph of a person. The glass compartment is empty now. This cameo may be worn as a brooch and has its original hinged pin and ‘c’ clasp, both in good working order. There is a pretty link chain made which looks very much like rose gold, but it is not marked and has not been tested. The findings are all base metal.
The overall condition of this charming piece is typical of its ripe, antique age of well over a hundred years. It has seen some wear over time, in particular to the mount, which has suffered the above-mentioned repairs and which reflect in the price. It is a substantial piece, measuring around 6cm x 6cm including the mount, and weighs circa 21 grams. Over all it is a charming piece that is quite wearable as well as being collectable.
Kindly see the photos as they compliment the description. Colour of photos will vary according to monitor colours so will never be accurate in person. I do try to get it as close as possible on my calibrated monitor.
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- Carved Sardonyx shell. Base metal with gold gilt. Victorian Sardonyx shell cameo brooch of Venus and Cupid.
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