Comments for How Can I tell How Old My Cameo Is?

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Trying to find the era of my cameo brooch.
by: Lalanya

Hello Yvonne,
My name is Lalanya and I have been on the net trying to find the age and maybe value (if any) of a cameo brooch that was given to me years ago and I came across your page. You seem to have alot of knowledge of this subject so I'll try to describe my brooch.
It is a carved lady in white, curls up-swept with some sort of head band and she is placed on what looks like black onyx which is laid into a (approx) 2"x2" brass setting. The hardward on the back is 2 sharp prongs that lift straight up. I have come up with that it was used for some sort of hankercheif decoration. I don't know what era it is from and would love to know more about it. Thank you so much for your time. I can take a picture of the piece to show you if you like. It is a beautiful piece.

Sincerely,
Lalanya Sparkman.

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More Clues in Dating a Cameo
by: Anonymous

I wouldn't polish this piece either, at least until you know what the metal the jewelry is made from.

Gold plated pieces can be detected by close examination of the places that get the most wear, with your Jewelers Loupe or magnifying glass of at least 10X magnification, because the coating of gold is usually thin, especially if it is an old piece of jewelry.

Cameos can be done in shell, coral, lava and all other types of gemstones.

At the height of the Art Deco era, Coco Chanel was instrumental and a symbol of the changing times, which involved the way in which woman perceived themselves. This little "revolution" helped usher in the dawn of feminism and one of the symbols of the new liberated woman was shorter hair style and believe it or not, a cigarette protruding from the pout!

Out came the cigarettes & scissors and off came the locks. Girls just want to have fun!

This attitude was reflected back to the world in women's jewelry, hair styles and fashion. That is why the picture on the cameo which includes small details like the Hairstyle of the woman depicted, can yield important clues when dating a cameo.

Without the benefit of a photograph, (I understand this is not always possible) a short style (this does not mean long hair in upswept manner) will usually mean the cameo is from art deco era or later. A small detail, but a short hair style on a WOMAN on a cameo is not usually associated with antique cameo.

Also not associated with antique cameos is a woman when in profile that has an upturned nose! Straight Roman noses indicate an antique cameo in the world of cameo.

Further details on Art Deco jewelry can be found Here.


The style of the safety clasp, the hardware, will also provide some clues.

best regards
Yvonne Hammouda-Eyre


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Details about the cameo
by: Anonymous

You are right! I need to give details about the cameo itself. It is a lady. Her hair is chin length. There are three distinct tundrels of hair from about the eye to the chin that come straight down. Again, they are made with very simple lines. Straight lines to make the three tundrels, and then diagonal lines to make the look of curls.

The top of her hair is simply pulled back from forehead, and then has three ridges that look kind of like finger rolls if that makes any sense. There is no marcasite, and I really don't know what kind of metal it is.

I don't want to try to polish it, because I am afraid of ruining its aged beauty. Looking at it in the sunlight, I don't think it is silver. So with those details, can you tell me any more? I hope so! :-)

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Dating Cameo
by: Anonymous

First of all, your cameo sounds wonderful!

And yes, your cameo could very well be made from mother of pearl. Collectors of victorian jewelry will find a beautiful mother of pearl cameo brooch c. 1840s with silver mounting and embellished with marcasites on p. 71. "Collecting Victorian Jewelry" by C. Jeanenne Bell, 2004. The victorians loved cameo jewelry.


You say the carving is simple but beautiful in comparison
to the more detailed cameo. However, unfortunately you didn't tell us anything about the carving itself :-(

The details in the carving, depicted in the scenes, yield clues about the age of the cameo. If it is a lady depicted on the cameo, is her hair short or long? If the hairstyle is short, for instance it will be modern. It is the details in the carving that help us date a cameo.

So we would like to know more about the picture on your cameo if possible.

There is also more information about antique cameo here.

Thanks for writing in....
Yvonne Hammouda-Eyre
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