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Sardonyx Cameo of Diana

Sardonyx Cameo of Diana

Diana, The Huntress

This sardonyx (hardstone) cameo depicts the left profile of the Greek Goddess Diana. Her hard stone cameo portrait is bezel set in a 14kt yellow gold frame, circa 1905, with flowing ribbon like elements twisted along the outer edge .... lined with tiny seed pearls strung along a thin wire filament.  The frame is 14kt yellow gold and the clasp and pin stem are 10kt.

Notice the wonderful detail of the portrait .... the hair, the folds of the fabric in her dress and the decorative elements in her hair.  The more detail in a cameo,  the more valuable.  Also, carving a cameo in hardstone is much more difficult than carving in the softer shell.  Hardstone cameos cost more than shell cameos of comparable size,  subject and quality.

When examining a cameo  - especially portraits -  carefully look for any damaged areas, especially the highest relief areas such as the nose. Often times, you may find cameos with chipped noses as this is one of the highest points on the carving.

A more detailed, elaborate frame will also enhance the value of your cameo.  The frame of our Goddess Diana cameo is wonderfully detailed and perfectly fits the period of time in which this was created, circa 1910.  Seed pearls were much desired during the turn of the century and were often incorporated into the jewels of the day.

Cameos are often carved from such hard stones as Sardonyx (banded tan and white or banded orange and white agate), onyx (banded black and white agate), amethyst, sapphire, ruby, emerald, citrine, and rose quartz. The most common hardstones used for cameos throughout history are onyx and sardonyx. Since hard stone cameos are more durable than shell cameos, they tend to maintain their condition and detail for more generations.

A truly talented artist can achieve a wonderful three dimensional quality with varying layers, tones and colors as the carver chips away at each banded layer of agate.

Cost:  $1,385

Measurements:   This brooch is 1.875" in height and 1.5" wide.

side view of sardonyx cameo.
This side view shows the detail of the frame as well as the height of the cameo profile. Better quality and more expensive cameos have a higher profile (juts out more) and greater detail. When examining cameos (all types), look for the quality of the carving, the amount of detail, the depth or height of the profile, the condition (crazing) and the material used. Also, more elaborate frames add to the value.

This rearview of the brooch shows the solidness and weight of the hardstone cameo....certainly more dense than the more fragile shell cameos seen throughout history.   Most shell cameos were carved in Naples, Italy,  while the hard stone cameos were often carved in Idar-Oberstein, Germany.  This back shot also shows that our cameo brooch has a nice secure clasp with a safety catch.   Earlier cameos had only the "c" clasp, however, this later piece (circa 1910) has a more secure clasp. Rearview of sardonyx cameo.

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