A beautiful classic cameo hand carved by an Italian master craftsman.
This cameo is a large oval measuring 50x40mm (about 2x1-9/16 inches) with a finely detailed neo-Roman head, the hair curling around the face and top of the head, corkscrew curls along the base of the neck, and an olive leaf crown perhaps a portrayal of an Olympian. All of the facial details are carved with such grace and subtlety. Just gorgeous.
Cameos are carved from shell or layered rock, such as agate. Carving through the layers gives the artist the ability for shading the design in increments of light and dark, and, in some cases, color. When using shell, typically conch, the darker the shell the harder it is. Amateurs use the lighter shell, it's easier to carve. Master craftsmen use dark shell. Another hallmark of cameo quality are the details: how finely shaped are the nose, chin, brow and ears, the flowers and other details? Last, an exceptional cameo is an unusual design.
This is a one and only from a family of cameo artists in Naples, Italy carved from dark conch. Alone as a collectable art piece or have it set as a pendant, brooch, or both. This is one of only two cameos we have. They are difficult to find in the U.S. with this level of mastery.