Gutta Purcha Cameo Earrings circa 1850 from Richmond VA:

Antique Composite Earring "Coral"

The Pierced wire earrings are made of a material called Gutta Purcha with a coral color added to the composite to make the earrings to look like carved Coral.
definition: Gutta Purcha is rubber-like gum derived from the resin of trees from Southeast Asia, especially Malaysia; highly flexible yet durable, it began to be used in the 1840s for jewelry, especially mourning jewelry in the latter 19th century, as a more reasonable substitute for jet; designs are almost always molded, however, as opposed to carved
Pronunciation: gut-tah pur-chah
Alternate Spelling: gutta-percha
Example: Although gutta percha jewelry strongly resembles vulcanite jewelry, the two are not the same, as vulcanite is a manufactured rubber, while gutta percha is a natural latex substance.
The Earrings are early and in excellent condition and a rare find today in Victorian Gutta Purcha Jewelry. The current replacement value as June 2013 is $500.00.

Price: $165.00