Monday, May 15, 2017

5/15/17 Report - In The Dumps. A Different Type of Jewelry Find.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Where I came from you could put out the garbage, but it was going to stay where you put it.  It wasn't going to disappear.  There was no garbage pickup service.  That is the way it was in rural areas.

Things stayed where you left them until they were reused, buried, rusted away or just piled up.

It was that way even on the Treasure Coast back in the day.  As I've said before, the people that lived along the Indian River threw there junk over the bank into the river.  Much of it is still there.

Farmers didn't throw away much.  They kept it in case it came in handy some day. If they needed to fix something, they usually found something laying around that they could use.

There was old stuff in the barn, in the shed and in the field.  But what about real garbage?

Organic materials like food scraps became animal food or fertilizer.  The dog got the bones.  None of it went to waste.

What about papers?  They were used too.  Maybe to start a fire or line a dog pen or the bottom of a chicken coop.

There were some things that went to waste, but not many.  Bottles and tin cans might get thrown into a valley or dip and piled up over time.  My dad buried those.

I know where some of those old bottle dumps were and could probably go back and dig them up.  Not many people would know about those dumps today.  They are hidden out there waiting to be found. That is one advantage of being older and knowing something about what went on in days gone by.

Old folks from the area can be a good research resource.  They're usually happy to talk.


High Relief Cameo In Silver Find.

I've written about all kinds of jewelry finds in the past, but here is a different one.  It is a high-relief cameo mounted in a silver setting.

There are cheap cameos and then there are the more expensive hand-carved cameos.  The one shown above is not one of the common cheap ones.  It was carved in Italy,  which I learned after some research.

Nice hand-carved cameos run from hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars.  The setting is silver and made so the cameo can be worn as either a brooch or pendant.

Back of Same Piece

As you might be able to see, the piece is marked Italy and sterling (upper left), and the sculpture signed the piece by carving his name into the back of the shell.  The signature seems to be Fraterno.

From what I've read, it is probably Sardonyx shell.

I found the following description online.

The creative process for the cameo begins where the shell divers appropriately select specimens from 90 to 100 feet below the water's surface. The divers' harvest journeys to the shops of craftsmen in Torre del Greco, where the artist painstakingly searches for sea shells free of flaws and cracks. A new dimension of artistic skill and aesthetic appeal was added to cameo carving when it was discovered that many stones - and later, shells - were made of different colored layers. This allowed the artist to create a striking contrast between the raised (relief) layer and the flat (background) layer. Unlike our competitors who use modern machinery to assist in the initial stages of the process, our master craftsman performs the intricate details still carved by hand.

The individual piece to engrave is mounted with tree sap on a wooden stick. After sketching a picture of what he intends to carve, the engraving begins using steel burins. The goldsmith work is strictly hand-made and the techniques used are part of the most remarkable Neapolitan and Italian artistic tradition. Gold frames, like cameos themselves, are created in all shapes and sizes, the most popular being the oval. A gold metal ribbon (bezel or gallery wire) is wrapped around the perimeter and folded over the edge of each single cameo. In this fashion no two can be exactly alike in their curvature, thickness and contour. The bezel is then surrounded by the most decorative part of the frame: gold-moldings, twisted ribbons, double wire braids, mixed ropes, strings of pearls, hallow-cane, etc., and embellished with filigree patterns, or diamond settings.


Beach conditions remained unchanged.  I hope to get out to do a little hunting this week.

Happy hunting,