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Screw back cameo earrings - dating clues.
by: Anonymous

Hi Melissa

they look so charming. You might find the cameo facing one another in profile depicts a lady and the one on the right a gentleman. Alternately, the same person, keeping in mind that cameo are one-of-a-kind and you cannot therefore get a perfect match. that is the beauty of cameo jewelry. Sometimes it's quite tricky with male and female profiles, gentleman had long hair in the past, which has to be taken into account.

I had a pair of beautiful antique shell cameo earrings once; they were Victorian drop earrings dating to ca. 1870-1880 and made of bull's mouth conch shell. The profiles were facing each other too, male and female profiles. I decided to divest of them awhile back now and I'm kicking myself to this day! Many earrings of this era were converted to scewbacks.

Screwbacks, (unpierced earrings) became popular in the early 1900s.

Can you tell if the material is agate, conch shell or are they made of a composite material? To tell if they are shell, a drop of nitric acid (placed at an inconspicuous spot on the reverse) will detect shell cameo instantly. The shell will effervesce at the spot where the nitric acid was placed. It sounds to me like they are shell.

best wishes

Yvonne Hammouda-Eyre

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