Shell Cameo Value Question: I have a cameo that my great aunt gave to me.
It belonged to her mother-in-law. It looks like a real shell-carved one.
It has a 10kt stamp on the back. It is a pin and also can be used with a chain.
I do not know much about cameos. Maybe you could tell me how to tell if it is valuable.
From what I understand my great aunt’s mother-in-law was well off.
Answer: G’day Mary and many thanks for your query
The first thing I would like you to consider is one of the main questions any gemologist/appraiser/valuer would ask themselves…
If you were going to mount a quality gemstone (a cameo in this case) would you mount it in a high grade metal like 18 carat, or in a lower grade metal, such as 10 karat?
Hmmmm – makes you think, doesn’t it?
The standard Cameo Brooch made in the last century nearly always had a hinged loop on the inside frame. These were also used to attach a small safety chain to the brooch before being pinned to the lapel, or when being worn high on the throat of a laced blouse.
Yes, you could string a chain through the loop and the choice was left to the owner. More used with a safety chain though.
Shell carved cameo is also one of the really hard items to appraise, because the shell cameo has also traditionally been sold as a ‘Tourist Gift’ from far off places. Think of the shell carving industry from Europe as an example. The designs were usually traditional with Greek or Roman females with long flowing hair. The three Muses were also very popular during the mid 20th century.
I think you are going to have to visit your local FRIENDLY jeweler and have a written valuation appraisal done on the item. This will cost but is the only way you are going to get a real answer.
Thankfully; once you have that written appraisal, you can always renew it right here with our inexpensive Jewelry Appraisals Online system and have it updated with the correct price every couple of years or so.
The best advise I can give you though is this – enjoy it!
Hope this helps…