Jewelry, Gems, & Minerals/Cameo pendant

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Hi,
I have a very old cameo pendant necklace. I don't know if it is stone or shell. I am very confused when I look at the back of the piece because it is still in the rough form. I have never seen a cameo with a rough back. It is set in 10K gold. Is there any chance from the pictures you might be able to help me figure this out. Thank you for your time,
Sue

Answer
I am not a cameo expert and you should most likely bring this question to the attention of a bonefide jeweler. It is difficult to ascertain the identity of the material through pictures. Real shell cameos should be translucent to bright light. Also, the back of a shell cameo will most likely be concave and shiny, like the backside of a shell. A really good explanation for detecting fake or real cameos can be found here:
http://voices.yahoo.com/is-cameo-real-fake-6004646.html

Sorry that I couldn't be of more help.

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Uwe Richard Kackstaetter, Ph.D. (Dr.K)

Expertise

I can answer questions concerning minerals, mineralogy, gems, metals, and anything that has to do with geology. However, I am NOT a jeweler. Questions about values, settings, gem stone cuts and appraisals are best directed to other experts on this site. I can however aide in the identification of unknown mineral materials. As a public service and part as training for new geoscientists, our university department provides FREE mineral identification for individuals. Please contact me for details or go to http://college.earthscienceeducation.net/MIN/MINID.pdf for details..

Experience

I am a professor of applied geology and mineralogy with many hours of field experience. Furthermore, I enjoy recreational gold prospecting and mineral collecting. As a professor I am engaged in research concerning minerals and their occurrence.

Organizations
Member of the GPAA (Gold Prospectors Association of America) as well as the Association of Environmental Geochemists. Member of the GSA (Geologic Society of America) Member of the AIPG (American Institute of Professional Geologists)

Publications
Here is a small sampling: Mineral-rock handbook: Rapid-easy mineral-rock determination : written for anyone interested in minerals and rocks - Proctor, Peterson, and Kackstaetter;Macmillan Pub. Co. (New York and Toronto and New York) Physical Geology Laboratory e-Manual [CD-ROM], Kackstaetter, Earth Science Education LLC Colorado Front Range Self-guided Geology Field Trips, Kackstaetter, http://www.scribd.com/doc/27175290/Colorado-Front-Range-Self-Guided-Geology-Field-Trips

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. in Applied Geology and Mineralogy. I am actively teaching courses in mineralogy and a variety of field courses with mineral collecting opportunities. Background in precious metal exploration.

Past/Present Clients
Numerous!

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