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Francescangeli Hardstone Cameo

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Cameos102 of 433Cameo  Stone   Estate Sale Brooch with bottle opener???
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    Posted 7 years ago

    (15 items)

    This lovely hardstone (agate) bacchante/maenad, wreathed in grapevine is signed 'Francescangeli'. The Internet shows me gorgeous micromosaics by Agostino Francescangeli, and his shop, where he sold micromosaics & other objects 'di belle arti', is listed in guidebooks for Rome in the 1830s - 40s as being at Via del Babuino, #118. It seems likely to me that the cameo artist is a lapidary relative, but have not been able to find any other info, so hoping the massive CW collective brain knows more.

    While I am reading the number as 1822 & seeing it as the year, it is also possible I am misreading the third digit & that the number, along with the 'CD' & mystery mark below that (V? Lambda?), are inventory notations placed there by a dealer. Any insight/speculation welcome.

    This is a good sized piece, a bit more than 4cm in height & approx. 3 cm wide, quite hefty in the hand. The stone has been treated so that the rim & back are black, framing the otherwise brown & white cameo. The back surface is slightly convex rather than perfectly flat. There are none of the scratches or chips one would expect if the piece had ever been set, then later removed.

    Unsolved Mystery

    Help us close this case. Add your knowledge below.


    1. vetraio50 vetraio50, 7 years ago
      Could it be C. D. No 2 ??? Number 2.
    2. cameosleuth cameosleuth, 7 years ago
      I can see how it could be, although it is then an unusually ornate 'N'. But yes, maybe 'No. 2.' Possibly a price code? Thanks for the suggestion. :)
    3. kyratango kyratango, 7 years ago
      Agree with Vetraio it is a N.2.

      No idea for the last sign :-/
    4. cameosleuth cameosleuth, 7 years ago
      Think this reading makes sense. Everything about it is more consistent with Italian work from 1840 - 1880.
    5. JFranca JFranca, 7 years ago
      I see it as N. 2. Also. Beautiful piece.
    6. cameosleuth cameosleuth, 7 years ago
      Thank you, JFranca & thanks for adding your vote to the consensus. Another time, when even if scratching into stone, you made your letters with a flourish.
    7. cameosleuth cameosleuth, 7 years ago
      Thanks to all who have given her their love.
    8. Passion4Cameos Passion4Cameos, 5 years ago
      Very beautiful cameo. May I know what you mean by saying the stone has een treated? Is it not natural Onyx then? (Agate?)
    9. cameosleuth cameosleuth, 5 years ago
      Chalcedony, the form of quartz that is the basic mineral of the hardstones - agate & jasper - does not occur in nature in black. This stone would be considered sardonyx: dark brown, sard, background layer; figure cut in a white, onyx, layer. However, it is made more dramatic by having been treated to darken the back and around the edge. Chalcedony is porous, and agate has been dyed to alter or even out the color since at least Roman times. It is so routine, the jewellery trade does not feel required to mention it.

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