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The figure of a young male Negro or black African depicted (in jewelry) in a head or bust, usually made of black onyx or black-dyed chalcedony ('black onyx').
Such pieces were made as a cameo or as an ornament in the round to decorate a pendant, brooch, hatpin or the shank of a seal. They were, and still are, a specialty of Venice, but such cameos, of male or female heads, were also produced elsewhere in the 16th to 18th centuries.
From: An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry, autor: Harold Newman, publishers: Thames and Hudson