The Grand Tour was an essential undertaking for any English man of means beginning in the 1700s, but it wasn't until the early 1800s with the invention of steam-powered transportation that it became a pursuit open to anyone, including women. The tour typically began in Dover and wended its way through Europe before the culmination of the trip in Italy. During the same period, the cameo (made from a variety of materials including shell, coral, onyx and lava) was becoming increasingly fashionable. These miniature reliefs were painstakingly carved by highly skilled Italian artisans and usually depicted either portraits, or classical scenes from Roman mythology. Cameos were favorite souvenirs of the ladies and gentlemen who traveled to Italy - they served as proof that they had been on the Grand Tour. This c. 1860 shell cameo of an angel is quite large which makes us think it was originally worn as a brooch and was later mounted in this substantial gold ring.
14k gold (tests), shell cameo
c. 1860 cameo (mounting looks like it might be later or perhaps a re-shank)
8, can be resized; 7/8" x 3/4" head, 7.3mm shank
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1837 — 1901
please note:Terms of Sale
Antiques can be returned unworn and in original condition within 10 days of delivery for an exchange or refund minus the cost of shipping. Once a piece has been altered, including ring re-sizing, it is FINAL SALE.