Reset Cameo -
Personal Commission


101212 reset cameo This piece is included to give an idea of the range of work undertaken in my studio.

This vintage (and possibly antique) shell cameo was purchased at auction; it was in poor condition and was set in a mish-mash of material. As I wanted to retain the brass bezel (the metal holding the cameo itself) as it looked to be Victorian, a new fitting was made. The resetting/refurbishing included:
  • Disassemble and remove Sterling Silver Bow Brooch and 9Kt Gold Safety Chain for recycling.
  • Remove brown paint from back and some areas of front of cameo (presumably a previous owner wanted the white area to stand out more from the pinkish background!)
  • Attach new brass pin.
  • Reshape bezel and reset cameo.
Unfortunately, the cameo disappeared some months later. Despite extensive advertising, I had given it up for lost. Only when I was packing three months later to shift to the North Island did it resurface. Somehow it had gotten into the wash and I found it in the sump when I drained the washing-machine for transport!

Even though the cameo is made from shell, it had suffered from months of laundry detergent and fabric softeners passing over it, and the surface was rough and flaking. I decided to have a go at restoring it again. The following steps were taken:
  • The cameo was soaked in olive oil for a week, and then the oil was gently rubbed off.
  • The carving of the shell was carefully gone over with an engraver.
  • A new brooch bar-pin was crafted from brass.
NOTE: Although I am delighted with the result and pleased to have my cameo again, I am NOT a trained restorer of antique/vintage jewellery. I would strongly recommend seeking the advice of a Qualified Restorer before undertaking any type of repairs/refurbishment. (I only undertook these actions as it was essentially a write-off anyway.) You've been warned!

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