European carved shell cameo set in 14k yellow gold. Love the flower in her hair and at her shoulder! So beautiful when held to the light!
The earliest known use of shell for carving cameos was during the Renaissance in the 15th and 16th Centuries. These cameos were typically white on gray and were carved from the shell of a mussel. In the mid-18th Century, explorations revealed new shell varieties which led to an increase in shell cameos. Conch shells tend to be soft and carve very well. Shell cameos are carved from a single piece of shell.
The Virgin Mary. Carved Shell set in 800 Silver with marcasites. Pin or pendant. Note the halo detail around her head - just lovely!
Shell cameos are usually 2 colors and have a thin, concave back with the exception of abalone and mother of pearl as they tend to be thicker. (information in this paragraph taken from ezine article "All About Cameos" and from Wikipedia). I have been trolling around on Ruby Lane and eBay recently for unusual cameos and have found several I really like. I sense a new collection. SOMEBODY STOP ME. SERIOUSLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Same cameo from above shown without back-lighting.