Finely carved carnelian cameo of the head of Emperor Augustus, 18th century for the serious collector:
"Cameo" has become a cliche' for an often crudely rendered lady's head so popular in Victorian and more recent mass-manufactured jewelry, but in reality it describes an ancient and revered art: carving various subjects into stone in as fine a manner as possible. Good cameos were highly valued- and still are, they take an immense amount of skill and time in addition to artistic sense. (FYI: When the subject is in raised relief; it's a cameo, if it's carved down into the stone, it's an intaglio.)
This is a very fine example of the glyptic arts: the rendition is so fine and life like that Augustus looks like he should be breathing. He is wearing a laurel leaf crown. The carving is in rich red carnelian, looking at the side view you can see how the artist used the natural color layering of the stone. It is not assembled, the undercut is to give sharp detail to the finer features (e.g. the nose), and to facilitate setting.
Even if you have no intention of buying it, please look at the enlarged picture and enjoy the skill that went in to this portrait in stone.
This is from the collection of Derek Content, literally one of the world's foremost authorities on ancient jewelry and in particular stone carving. Derek obtained it in 1971 from the collection of Melvin Gutman, who had one of the largest and finest collections of ancient and Renaissance jewelry ever amassed outside of a museum. (I have copies of the pages from the original Parke-Bernet auction catalog.)
It was set in a (later) crude wrapped gold frame which I removed; the markings on the back which look like writing were revealed at that time...there is also what looks like a fine layer of cement.
I would be happy to design a setting for it if you'd like; it is small enough to make an imposing ring, but also would be suitable for a brooch or pendant.
1-3 business days
Buyers are responsible for any customs and import taxes that may apply. I'm not responsible for delays due to customs.
Just contact me within: 14 days of delivery
Ship items back to me within: 30 days of delivery
But please contact me if you have any problems with your order.
Because of the nature of these items, unless they arrive damaged or defective, I can't accept returns for:
Buyers are responsible for return shipping costs. If the item is not returned in its original condition, the buyer is responsible for any loss in value.
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Harper & Faye, Inc.
60 Federal Street
Boston, MA 02110
Yes, at my discretion (usually for high-ticket items). Please request layaway through Etsy conversations for details.
Yes, once you have purchased a stone; I will be happy to work with you on a custom designed setting for it.
I make every effort to be sure that photographs are accurate- but two things will affect how the stone looks to you:
First, each monitor and screen displays color differently, so the color on your monitor might not represent the actual color of the stone.
Second, the apparent color of many gemstones varies with the type of light (daylight, incandescent, fluorescent, LED) you are viewing it in; and some types are more flattering than others! View the stone under several light sources to see the full color range.
If you'd like a formal gemological laboratory report, I can obtain one from the G.I.A. (Gemological Institute of America) or A.G.L. (American Gemological Laboratories) on your behalf. We will charge you the actual cost plus shipping, handling and insurance. Please inquire for a price quote and estimated turnaround time; prices vary with the type of report and the size of the stone.
Paraiba tourmaline is colored an intense "Windex" blue from copper content. First discovered in Paraiba, Brazil it was introduced in the late 1980's in Tucson. I was there, and bought all I could afford! The price was considered outrageous, rising above $1000 a carat. The best of these early crystals were large, clean, and colored a deep ultramarine blue through intense green with a "glow". (Heat was used even then to bring out the blue color.) This material became so valuable that people were literally killed for it! In a few years the original mines were worked out, and supply dried up to a trickle. If one of these gems becomes available, it easily commands six figures. (I know where to find them if you want one!)
Larger deposits of copper-bearing tourmaline were discovered later in Nigeria (now worked out) and Mozambique. Those from Mozambique are more plentiful than the Brazilian stone, less included, and less expensive. The color is pretty; but only rarely has the saturation and "glow" that the Brazilian tourmaline has.
So, what am I selling?
A few people kept and didn't cut the more included Brazilian rough. This is being cut now, and there is still not a lot of it. My stones are from this source; they are Brazilian, and they have inclusions- but they will be as beautiful a blue as I can find. I am trying to offer stones that will allow those who aren't millionaires to actually own a true Brazilian Paraiba tourmaline.
Paraiba tourmaline is a hydrothermal mineral: The crystals grew in hot liquid, leaving distinctive birthmarks in the stone: "Trichites" are hair-thin nets of cavities; "growth tubes" are hollow tubes that form along the crystal axis, fractures are splits that occur across the crystal. When the crystal changes direction growth planes are visible. Guest minerals are other minerals contained in the crystal. Many fractures "heal" themselves (partially or fully) as solution crystallize within them.
In most stones available today, these inclusions are small, but numerous. When the stone is cut, they are bisected; leaving tiny holes on the surface.
The cleaner the stone is, the more it will cost, but they all will make great jewelry.
Paraiba tourmaline has with very few exceptions always been routinely heated to improve the blue color (removing purple and gray tones); with the possible exception of highly included material due to the danger of breakage. The heat used is fairly low compared to that used for ruby and sapphire, and can not be detected, even by a gemological lab. Because of this, most labs simply say "Paraiba tourmaline may be routinely heated" to cover all bases. In general if it is that bright neon turquoise color, it can be assumed to be heated.