In the 18th and 19th centuries the cameo (made from a variety of materials including shell, coral, onyx and lava) was experiencing great popularity and many of the most expert makers came from Italy. Lava from Mt. Vesuvius provided Italian cameo carvers a plentiful medium to create these miniature reliefs. These carved lava trinkets were favorite souvenirs of ladies who traveled to Italy. These earrings, a very unusual example of the style, feature two tiny heads of the Cane Corso - an old Italian breed that was used as a guard dog at the time these earrings were carved, but trace their ancestry back to Ancient Rome where they were used as catch dogs as well as in warfare.
Lava, 9k gold ear wires
5/8" length measured from the top of the ear wire, heads measure 8.4mm x 10.2mm
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1837 — 1901
Coral jewelry has been worn as an amulet of protection against ailments and danger since ancient Rome.