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June 21, 2017
The previous blog posts have discussed shell and lava cameos. This installment in the series will briefly address hardstone and coral cameos. Hardstone cameos are carved primarily of carnelian, sardonyx, or onyx. Many depict a profile that strongly resembles Queen Victoria and are generally set in ornate settings.
Coral cameos are often rendered in high relief ranging from pale pink (also known as 'angel skin') to a deep orange. While shell cameos are concave on the back, coral cameos are flat.
Hardstone and coral cameos can be found in pendants, brooches, bracelets, rings, and earrings.
Cameos were also produced in glass, plastic, Jet, and other substances; however, the shell, lava, coral, and hardstone examples epitomize those most commonly affiliated with the Victorian era. Cameos appear to be reemerging in popularity, once again adding a bit of nostalgia to modern day fashion.
Victorian Lady Kim
Hardstone cameo of carnelian set in ornate bezel with wreath of oak leaves, c. 1880s.
Hardstone carnelian cameo set in cross pendant, c. 1880s
Hardstone cameo, brooch, onyx, c. 1880s , ebay
Full figure of a woman done in carnelian with seed pearls, late Victorian, ebay.
Angel skin cameo in high relief, Victorian era, ebay
Angel Skin coral cameo brooch, c.1920s, ebay
High relief coral cameo set in sterling silver ring, early twentieth century
Coral cameo in brass setting with sapphires, c.1920s
Diana, goddess of the hunt (note crescent moon in hair) depicted in angel skin coral, ebay