Q: I have an unusual cameo necklace that was given to my mother around 1946. At that time, she was told that it was "very old." The carved scene shows two women, footbridges, trees, and two buildings. It is 1 5/8 inches long and 1 1/4 inches wide and has no markings on the back. Although it is priceless to me, I would love to know its history and value.
A: Cameos were popular pieces of jewelry in the Victorian era. The most expensive cameos were made from agates that had different colored layers. The design was carved away, revealing a different colored layer beneath the raised design. Less expensive carved cameos were made from shell, which was easier to carve. Cameos were also made of bone, ivory, celluloid, plastic, glass, or other materials. Plastic and glass cameos are molded, not carved. Your cameo pendant, which looks like a shell cameo, was probably made c.1900-1910 and is worth about $250.