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Cameo Clasp
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Title: Cameo Clasp
Identifier: 2007.2.32
Donor: Barbara Sayers Larson
Item Date: 1830-1870
Creation Date: 2012
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: A 18K yellow gold enamel and blue cameo four-strand clasp. The central clasp is a white cameo head depicting a youth in profile dexter that sits on a light blue background. There is a band of hatched gold next to the cameo in the frame and a raised oval dark blue enameled line around the outside of the frame. There are four holes on each side of clasp. The back of the clasp is smooth and has a diamond shaped hallmark in the centre, the makers mark and national mark, possibly French.

Cameos are made from stone or shell on which a design is carved in relief. Cameos, like mosaics or pietra dura, were considered tourist jewellery: tangible evidence for tourists of their travels. The technique for making cameos goes back to ancient times but was made popular again in the 18th and 19th centuries by the rediscovery of Pompeii and Herculaneum and the interest theses sites excited. Cameos were worn during the entire reign of Victoria (1837-1901) although it was most fashionable during the 1830ís to 1870ís. The subject matter was often classical in origin although English influenced themes were introduced especially as English manufactures set out deliberately to vie with continental jewellers. Most cameos were made in Italy as they still are today.

These items were donated by Barbara Sayers Larson, the granddaughter of Arthur and Mary Harris of Benares. These items of jewellery are pieces handed down to her as gifts and through inheritances. The exact provenance of each piece is unknown as much of the jewellery in the Harris family came from Captain Harrises relatives in Scotland. The pieces may have also been passed down through Mary Magrath Harris or the Draper family who were connected to the Harrises through the marriage of Annie Harris to Beverly Sayers.
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