Victorian Gold Carved Shell Mourning Cameo | RI Antiques Mall

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Victorian Gold Carved Shell Mourning Cameo



Today we are delighted to offer for sale a spectacular and very rare and unusual antique carved sentimental shell cameo pin. This exquisite piece is a rarity from the early Victorian period. Based on the fine design and craftsmanship we believe this piece to be of English or European origin.

The brooch is superbly crafted and detailed. It features a beautiful shell carving set in a delicate, virtually pure gold frame. The carving uses only the white part of the shell and features an arm holding a large bouquet featuring a central Gerbera with long stems and bud flowers and leaves surrounding it.

In the Victorian era, mothers mourned their deceased children for one year and wore all black, including black crepe and hair jewelry. After a specified period the crepe could be removed – this was called “slighting the mourning.” The color of cloth lightened as mourning went on, to gray, mauve, and white – called half-mourning. This pin could have possibly symbolized the end of the public mourning period for the mother and is a precious memento of her loved lost child. The delicate gold bespoke frame is fitted to the curve of the shell carving and features an embossed decoration surrounded by a tube setting adorned with embossed beads on each side.

The brooch is unmarked but jeweler-tested at 22K+ gold (virtually pure solid gold – quite unusual and highly precious). The closure is a tube or t-bar type with a locking closure. We believe the pin and locking clasp were replaced with a white tone metal, stronger than the original gold and with the safety closure to prevent loss. This is a statement piece and quite large (over 2″). This brooch is just stunning, we really can’t say enough superlatives to describe it. Brooch presents beautifully and is in excellent antique, pre-owned condition, with very minimal wear, tarnish and patina commensurate with age. There is one small dent to the outside of the setting in the top right hand corner (one o’clock in the photos). Mentioned only for accuracy, it doesn’t detract and it’s amazing that that’s the only tiny flaw as 22k gold is super-soft.

This rare and amazing brooch will make a crowning addition to any fine antique jewelry collection– sure to be a centerpiece for years to come! You’ll never find another!

Dimensions: 2-3/8″ in width, 2-1/8″ in height Total Weight: 30 grams (approx. one ounce)

Additional information

Weight 0.62 lbs
Dimensions 8 × 6 × 4 in

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