A Hardstone Cameo Ring

Circa 1870


the mask carved in an orange layer of the stone above a pure white band, the ears engraved in the white layer to cleverly create the illusion of a mask in wear. The mouth left hollow so the white layer can show through.

Mounted in a buttery yellow gold ring mount, contemporary with the gem, a beaded border surrounding the stone, the cameo secured with a scalloped setting edge. The jeweller has clearly sought to make the ring appear antique, creating a pitted surface and using techniques associated with Classical antiquity. The style of the goldsmithing is redolent of the work of the French firm Wièse. Theatre masks were a popular subject for gems in Classical antiquity and possibly had an apotropaic function, intended to scare away the Evil Eye.

UK Ring Size: P
US Ring Size: 7 1/2