Antique mid-Victorian large lava cameo brooch in 14-carat gold, circa 1860


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What makes a cameo good? Quality of carving and condition are supreme. Look for flowing lines and unchipped noses. (A flat nose is a chipped nose, polished.)

A great cameo will be a small work of art, like a painting or a sculpture. They often depict a character from antiquity – the clues will usually be in the head adornments. 

This mid-Victorian lava example, set in a high-carat enamelled frame, is Bacchus (or one of the followers of his Greek alter ego, Dionysus): grapes, vine leaves and his wild expression give him away. 

It would have been a tourist souvenir for wealthy Victorians in Italy on the Grand Tour. The depth of carving is extraordinary.


• Handmade in carved lava in a 14-carat yellow gold frame decorated with black enamel 

• Approximately 5.5cm (just over 2 inches) long, 4.5cm (just over 1 3/4 inches) wide, 1.9cm (3/4 inch) deep

• Weight is 38.7 grams

• In excellent antique condition

• Will come in a Karen Deakin gift box (the antique boxes are not for sale)

Please examine the photographs carefully – they form part of the description. 

I’d be very happy to send more information and images. Layaway available.

I accept returns if you’re not delighted with your purchase.

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