Outstanding French Belle Epoque Carved Opal Cameo of Adonis in 18k

Sale price Price $8,995.00 Regular price

The Belle Époque era, also known as the Art Nouveau movement, began at the end of the 19th century in Europe and particularly in Paris. Revolutionary and innovative in many fields, this period was a period of abundant creativity and saw the emergence of a new artistic production among jewelry designers. Precursors and avant-gardists, Belle Époque jewelry is incredibly original and inventive.

The portrait details in opal cameos are more subtle than agate, due to opal's softness. We usually see opal in simple cabochon form because it is so tricky to cut, yet when sculpted, its iridescent rainbow calls up all kinds of things bioluminescent. Carving opal is like trying to sculpt stained glass. Not only is the material itself glass-like (fragile and unpredictable), its color is also its glory. A sculptor has to let the stone dictate form. It takes a certain kind of artist to take this on, one not only skilled at the three-dimensional form but blessed with infinite patience and a taste for living on the edge. One crack and there goes your time and investment.

This gorgeous example features a carved opal cameo portrait of Adonis, the god of desire and beauty, and Aphrodite's counterpart. The story of Adonis and Aphrodite are intertwined, and their story is a classic account of jealousy and desire, rejection, and love. 


Materials ad Features: 18k gold, opal

Age/Origin: c.1890

Condition: Excellent condition. 

Please view and inspect any photos closely. We endeavor to fully disclose all condition information clearly and concisely, however, please note that what qualifies as excellent condition for historical jewelry differs from modern and contemporary pieces; please take the age of the piece into account when examining the piece. Minor age wear is typical and to be expected for antique and vintage jewelry. Unless otherwise stated, gemstones have not been officially graded for color, clarity, or treatment by GIA; any information provided is our own educated, professional assessment.