GlitzQueen Antique and Vintage Jewelry

Pretty Vintage Carved Shell Cameo Earrings

Pretty Vintage Carved Shell Cameo Earrings

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Directory: Estate Jewelry: Costume: Unsigned: Pre 1940: Item # 1113583
GlitzQueen History and Art to Wear
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Albuquerque, NM

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Shell cameos, like pearls, are classics that always look elegant. If you collect vintage and antique examples, you know how much harder it is to find cameo earrings than brooches, necklaces and rings. Thus, we're fortunate in being able to offer these.

Every real cameo -- being hand-carved, not molded -- is one of a kind, so those set in any pair of earrings can vary substantially in form, color and even age. The cost for earrings rises tremendously, if both were made by the same craftsman from the same shell, with portraits that resemble each other. Here the cameos do show differences. One shell has a more intense background color than the other and our ladies are clearly not twins. Based on their hairstyles and the style of carving, they were probably produced a generation apart. Notice the curly flapper bob on the gal at right, while the one at left has her long hair swept back in the Late Victorian manner. It's fun to think of them as family, the elder pictured in youth during the 1880s or 1890s and her daughter or niece in the 1920s.

The oval rope-twist mountings of gilt brass have a Victorian look and screw backs of the sort favored by Edwardians, but most likely they're later than either cameo, dating from the 1930s or thereabouts. Measuring approximately 3/4" x 5/8", they fit both cameos well and the backs are open, as they should be to let light pass through the shells.

Condition of the cameos and metalwork is so good that they can't have been worn much. Provenance of the pair is a California estate. We're calling them vintage and pricing them accordingly, because the mounts seem a little too recent for antique designation. Both cameos, however, are antique by American 75-year standards

There's no charge for insured U.S. shipping, with an equivalent discount on international delivery, and gift-wrap is always free on request. Please e-mail to confirm availability, order or request more photos of this and/or our other cameo items. Thanks for looking!