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Vintage Cameos

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cameosleuth's loves5 of 177th century Saxon gold ring Wounded antique enamel silver beetle brooch, kyratised !
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    Posted 5 years ago

    (201 items)

    I found these beautiful vintage Cameo pieces in a bag for $5. One is a choker, brooch, and two bracelets. One of the bracelets need a little work, but overall in very good condition. I wear the brooch, but everything else seems so delicate. Once again I do not know the era, but chime in if you have an idea.

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    1. Newfld Newfld, 5 years ago
      These are really lovely raven
    2. Celiene Celiene, 5 years ago
      You can tel the age of the brooch by the clasp. Isn't that open c-clasp style early 20th century?

      (Clearer pics would help).
    3. Celiene Celiene, 5 years ago
      Is the multi-colored bracelet gutta percha? Looking at the backs, it sure looks like it. They look to be set in Sterling?
    4. Celiene Celiene, 5 years ago
      Pic # 2 zoom in on the back of the last cameo on the right. It's pour molded.
    5. Celiene Celiene, 5 years ago
      Oh - that multi colored one is Lava!
    6. Celiene Celiene, 5 years ago
      Google Lava Cameo Jewelry. Looks like they were made anywhere from 1830-Late Victorian. You SCORED for 5 bucks!!!
    7. raven3766 raven3766, 5 years ago
      Thank you Newfld and Celiene! It is a C clasp on back of the brooch. I didn't know the Cameo's could have been made in a mold; learn something new every day. I will research Lava Cameo's, thanks Celiene!
    8. Celiene Celiene, 5 years ago
      The brooch set looks to be stone.
    9. raven3766 raven3766, 5 years ago
      Okay stone...alright, never thought of that.
    10. raven3766 raven3766, 5 years ago
      I love the beauty of Cameos. Thank you for the information Celiene.
    11. Celiene Celiene, 5 years ago
      Maybe the face was carved. But the back looks like poured material.

      This page says DO NOT soak them in water!
    12. racer4four racer4four, 5 years ago
      What a gorgeous set!
      Great work there Celine :)
    13. shareurpassion shareurpassion, 5 years ago
      I'll say you scored too! It looks to me like the two pieces might be a broken necklace??? I could be wrong but it's pictures. It just needs a repair job. Really nice!
    14. cameosleuth cameosleuth, 5 years ago
      What a score for 5 bucks! The cameo in the brooch is particularly nice & you can read about the lady & see others here:

      The brooch & choker necklace like it are cut in helmet shell, but the artisan has used his material in the opposite way from the majority of helmet shell cameos by making the white layer the the background & the orange/brown layers the figure.

      The pale pink cameos are cut in conch shell, a material that was not widely used until the later part of the 19th century.

      The other bracelet, as has already been noted, is cut in lava & is unusual for the number & variety of figures.

      The hinge, clasp & long pin stem on the brooch make me think that piece, along with the matching necklace, are earlier than the 2 bracelets, before 1880. However, dating is difficult to do with accuracy. All 4 pieces are Victorian, all use natural materials, none of them incorporates anything artificial. They were all cut in Italy, probably in the Naples/Torre del Greco area; it is more likely that they were set elsewhere.

      Water will not harm the shell cameos (they started out in salt water!), nor will a dab of dish washing soap in the water. While some people prefer to use distilled or de-ionized water, tap water will do. You would not want to soak a shell cameo in chlorinated tap water on a daily basis, the chlorine would eventually take a toll, but the degree of any shell loss in a first time cleaning would be microscopic & soaking is actually good for antique shell, which can fracture from becoming too dry.
      If there is any concern here it is the metal, but if these had come into my hands, I would have no hesitation in giving the shell pieces a good long soak with a bit of mild soap followed by the application of a very soft toothbrush. Never use anything meant for heavy duty cleaning or bleaching; never use vinegar. Do make sure they have the opportunity to get completely dry before putting them in to any kind of enclosed space. For reassurance, I must have given this treatment to hundreds of shell cameos at this point. The few times there have been ill effects the cameo had some other substance on it to increase the definition or darken the background that was water soluble. I see no indication of anything like that here.

      Lava is a trickier cleaning problem. It is very porous & often dyed. If there are any places you would like to spot clean on the front, I recommend testing the method on the back first.

      Really nice pieces. Price makes them fabulous. :)
    15. raven3766 raven3766, 5 years ago
      Cameosluth, thank you for the information. I will soak the cameos, with the exception of the lava. Thank you so much!
    16. cameosleuth cameosleuth, 5 years ago
      You are very welcome. After they've had their baths, pat dry but then give plenty of time to air dry. You want to make sure as much moisture as possible is gone from the space between each cameo & its frame before putting away into an enclosed place such as a box. What a score! Bet the necklace is lovely on. :)

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