Object of the Day: An Antique Hardstone Cameo Stickpin

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Since the Third Century BC, cameos have been a popular art form used in everything from seals to jewelry. During the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, cameo jewelry wasn’t just reserved for women. Gentlemen wore cameos in rings, watch fobs and stickpins. Only in recent years have cameos been exclusively the stuff of women’s jewelry.

This lovely hardstone cameo has been set into a delicate stickpin which dates to the late Nineteenth Century. Set in a gold bezel, the cameo is a dramatic contrast of white and black, showing a neatly carved profile of a woman in classical style.

Onyx, jet and dark sardonyx jewelry was often set aside to be worn during a time of mourning when the choices for adornment were limited. A stickpin such as this could have added a bit of pizzazz to mourning attire without being overly flashy. Today, she serves as a reminder of a sense of style and beauty which, also, has sadly passed.


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