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Victorian Cameo Jet and Carved Coral Pendant

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    Posted 5 years ago

    (18 items)

    Victorian Cameo Jet and Carved Coral Pendant

    Bought this for my stunning wife Natasha, I wanted to get her something as timeless as her beauty is.

    This beautiful and rare original Victorian era carved coral cameo set in Whitby Jet.

    Pendant measures just over 1 3/8" long (with bale) and 3/4" wide. with velvet ribbon with snap closure (not original to the piece but it works!)

    A orange coral cameo; beautifully hand carved to depict the classical goddess of the harvest and fertility, Demeter (as she was known to the Romans) or Ceres (as she was known to the Greeks). She's distinctive with her fancy hair dress.

    Godey's Ladys Book in 1863 wrote: "Velvet necklaces are among the pretty novelties. They are a yard and a quarter long,and half an inch wide, and are ornamented with pendants, which surround the throat, the velvet being tied in a bow behind."

    Jet is a black mineral. It was formed from the wood of a type of 'monkey puzzle' tree over 135 million years ago. It is very light and can be very highly polished. It is highly prized for making jewelry and ornaments and is found throughout the North York Moors. Whitby is famous for the manufacture of jet jewelry, particularly so in the last part of the 19th century when Queen Victoria popularized this type of jewelry. During the reign of Queen Victoria protocol dictated that only Jet jewelry could be worn at court during periods of official mourning. This royal endorsement confirmed the status of Jet as the material of choice for mourning jewelry and fueled the expansion of the Jet industry in the late 1800's. Never was this more so than in the period following the death of Victoria's husband Prince Albert from typhoid fever in December 1861. The finest jet in the world comes from Whitby, England. Sadly, the Victorians completely mined it all out, which makes pieces like this even more collectible.

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    1. racer4four racer4four, 5 years ago
      Stunning piece - suits Natasha perfectly.
      I am sure the jewellery experts will have more to say about this than me, but I really love the way the bale has been carved from jet - it looks like it's held onto the pendant with a jet pin. Is that right?
    2. Armyeng Armyeng, 5 years ago
      Thanks racer! It looks that way racer although I am no expert on it I think I need to get a magnet and see what happens but upon just looking at it the pin and bale does seem to be made of jet also

      Thanks nutsabotas!
    3. cameosleuth cameosleuth, 5 years ago
      First, love it that you wanted to give your wife something special, & these intricately carved jet settings are certainly that.

      A few points to sort out. I cannot see her well enough to tell for sure whether she is wearing the wheat stalk wreath characteristic of the goddess. You can compare her to examples here:

      Ceres is her Roman name; Demeter is the Greek.

      The cameo is carved in helmet shell, which is also known in the cameo world as cameo shell, carnelian shell & sardonyx shell for its usage & coloration. For examples of coral (compared with conch shell):

      I had not previously seen jet described as coming from monkey wood. Looking at the top results in a Google search, see the first source says the original wood was similar to monkey wood. It is wood on the way to becoming coal, but not there yet.

      That is my 6 bits. Hope your wife appreciates the gift & the giver. :)

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