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Cameo Jewelry

Cameo Jewelry

Authentic Cameo Rings, Pendants, Necklaces & Earrings. The traditional cameo is comprised of three materials: agate, glass and shell. Throughout history, the agate was sometimes referred to as hard stone cameo. In an assembled cameo, the figure used in the design was carved by hand and then placed on a background, usually of a different color. For example, the figure was carved into ivory or a similar pale white material and then placed onto a background of pale pink or soft rose.



Cameo jewelry is a type of jewelry originally made by carving.

Today designers are creating the same look out of plastic and other similar materials, often by using a mold or pressing the design into place. All cameos contain a negative and positive image on the finished piece. The positive image is the relief or raised part, usually an image of a woman. The negative image is the outside of the figural image.

Another type of cameo is one carved into a single piece. The designer uses a material like shell that has alternating layers of colors. As they carve the design into the piece, they cut away the other layers to create different colors in the same piece. This type of cameo jewelry is more difficult to make and usually more expensive to purchase.

The first example of cameo jewelry appeared in Ancient Greece and Rome in the 6th century BC. Men often wore Cameo Pendants as a way to denote their social status. Many of the cameo pieces created during this era incorporated glass and artificial glass in the design. Artists created the relief onto a piece of darker glass, typically blue or green in color. The figure was then added to a pale white background to finish off the cameo. Some designs from this time period also used a transparent or clear background as opposed to the white.

During the Renaissance Cameo Necklaces and cameo pendants became more popular. These cameos used shells in the design and incorporated shades of grey and white. The shell itself was used as the background, which allowed for the grey background. White pieces of shell were then carved into a figure shape and added to the backing to create the cameo. The designs returned once again during Napoleon’s reign over France, when he actually wore cameos as decorations on his crown. Designs created then often used conch shells for their creamy and pale pink look.

Towards the end of the 19th century, cameo jewelry had another comeback due to the British royal family. Queen Victoria often wore cameos on her clothing and she even appeared on some pieces created during this time. Other designers used her figure as inspiration for their designs. The spread of the industrial revolution helped increase production and cause even more cameos to hit the market.

Modern cameo jewelry is often made by using agate in combination with different colored dyes. The agate itself has different layers, with the artist carving directly into the piece. Prior the piece being finished, dye is applied to the agate to enhance and brighten the different colors. Others use a device known as an ultrasonic mill. This device allows the artist to add the design to the mill and push it directly onto a piece of agate to create multiple pieces in a short period of time. These pieces are used in a variety of ways including cameo earrings, cameo brooches, cameo necklaces, cameo pendants and other types of cameo jewelry.


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Baby & Children's Jewelry | Byzantine Jewelry | Cable Bracelets | Cameo Jewelry | Chandelier Earrings | Circle Pendants | Cross Pendants
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