|Description: An oval shell cameo brooch set in a 15 carat yellow gold frame. The gold frame has a spiral gold wire design along edges. The cameo is brown and white and depicts a castle with a tree, background town, bridge and two full figure women facing each other (thought to be an 18th century motif of the meeting of Mary, Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth I).|
History: 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.
Kathleen Agnes Sayers neť Colloton (1907 -1981) was the wife of Geoffrey Sayers. Kathleen, known as Kay, married Geoffrey in 1933 at St. Peterís Anglican Church in Erindale. Kay and Geoffrey never had any children and were the last Harris relatives to live at Benares. This jewellery was part of Kay Sayers Estate and was donated by Geoffrey Sayers. Many of these pieces were originally from inheritances through the Harris and Draper families.