Ah yes, the purple stone. Amethyst, the birthstone for February got its name from the Greek word “amethystos” which means “not drunken”. Amethyst was suppose to ward off the intoxicating powers of Bacchus which is why wineglasses were often carved from it. Amethyst is also the purple variety of quartz family. Historically, the finest amethyst were found in Russia.
In very broad terms, the difference between a cameo and an intaglio is whether the gem engraving is cut into the stone or raised up from the stone.
I have always adored intaglios, the carved “into” gemstones. They are experiencing a resurgence in popularity so if you have one, bring it out!
Strictly speaking, engraving means carving in intaglio (the design is cut into the flat background of the stone). En relief (raised) carving means the design projects out of the background of the stone, exploiting the layers of a colored gemstone, which is a cameo.
At the Bonhams white glove sale in London this past Wednesday, the Ceres Collection, (read about it here in case you missed my first post) a collection of 101 rare and historic cameos and intaglios dating back to the 4th century B.C., sold for more than $490,000. The initial estimate was $171,568. Bonhams said that the majority of the rings doubled their estimates, while a number of pieces went for 10 and even 20 times higher than expected.
Bonhams on New Bond Street in London will be auctioning off a collection of rare and historic cameos and intaglios at their Fine Jewelry Sale on September 17, 2014. Some of the cameos date as far back as the 4th century B.C.
It is being referred to as the “The Ceres Collection” and it is made up of more than 101 engraved cameo and intaglio rings, worth a combined estimated $171,568. The collection is being sold without reserves.