A Superbly Carved Antique Victorian Amethyst Cameo Pendant c.1890
The gracious turn of the head, the half smile on her lips, skilfully transfered to a cold stone, and an overall mood of the cameo, makes the piece a true work of art.
size of the amethyst cameo – 1 1/8 x 7/8 in. (31 x 22 mm)
size of the open work 14K gold bezel – 1 1/2 x 1 1/8 in. (39 x 28 mm)
A master carver who produced this exceptional piece of jewelry, was almost certainly from the German town of Idar-Oberstein.
In the late 14th century, some rich deposits of amethyst were found in the area, and a long history of gemstone carving began.
In the middle ages, amethyst was considered extremely precious, as it was one of the five “cardinal stones”.
Idar-Oberstein carvers prospered and reached their zenith in the 19th century. They were most renowned for unmatched quality of amethyst cameos, although various other objects were made from a wide range of imported hardstones.
When local amethyst deposits were mined out, the region went into decline.
It is a well known fact that in the 1880s and 1890s, the Russian Imperial Court jeweler Carl Faberge was one of the biggest retailers of Idar-Oberstein carvings. Faberge’s own workmaster’s archived exceptional results of hardstone carving by the early 20th century, but in the years mentioned above, a substantial number of Faberge hardstone pieces were commissioned in Idar-Oberstein.
Carl Faberge routinely marked his stock objects with scratched inventory numbers. The gold setting of this particular cameo has a tiny five-digit scratched inventory number on the back rim of the gold bezel – 83480. The number is of an identical appearance as Faberge’s inv. numbers of the period.
A possibility of Faberge connection is purely hypothetical and this exceptional cameo is not sold here as a Faberge piece.