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Cameos

Posted by Laurie Zeiden on

Cameo is a type of carving which produces a raised or relief image.The technique is used on various objects including plaques, vessels, and jewelry, our focus. The most appealing and popular cameos show the relief in one color and the background in a contrasting color. The two-color effect is achieved by carefully carving the stone until the second color is revealed.

Materials chosen for carving range from semi-precious stones to glass and shell. Semi-precious stones  including agate, onyx, sardonyx and carnelian are ideal as they present a wonderful second color when carved. Cameos made with these semi-precious stones are referred to as hardstone cameos.

Shell cameos, made as early as the 15th and 16th centuries, were usually made from mussel and cowry shells. As European explorers discovered new lands, they brought conch shells back to Europe and by the 18th century, most shell cameos were made from conch. Interestingly, conch fades over time which is why some 18th century cameos lack definition between the relief and the background.

Numerous other materials are also used in carving cameos. Coral, bog oak, lava, ivory, mother-of-pearl, jasperware, and even plastic cameos can be found. Some modern cameos are produced by affixing a carved relief element onto a flat contrasting material. These are called assembled cameos.

One of the most collectible and hard-to-find types of cameo are cameo habille which came into fashion around 1840. This is a cameo of a woman's portrait in which she is wearing real gemstone jewelry. 

There are many subjects shown in cameos but the most commonly seen are mythological scenes or figures, classical motifs, and the portrait of a woman who has come to be called The Anonymous Woman. And here's the gallery.

SHELL CAMEOS


Medusa with Snakes, 18k Gold
From the Collection of Robin Allison


Ariel Riding the Bat, Gold Filled
From the Collection of Robin Allison


Classical Motif, 18k Gold and Enamel, French
From the Collection of Robin Allison


14k Gold with Multiple Layers
From the Collection of Robin Allison


Anonymous Woman, Multiple Layers, Gold Filled
From the Collection of Robin Allison


Nude with Cherubs, 18k Gold
From the Collection of Robin Allison


Raphael's Madonna, 14k Gold
From the Collection of Robin Allison


From the Personal Collection of Kim DeWitt Paff


Thorvaldsen's Night Pearl, 14k Gold Festoon
From the Collection of Robin Allison


Angel, Gold
From the Collection of Robin Allison


Good Luck, 14k Gold


Sterling Silver, Italy


Anonymous Woman, Gold Buckle Frame
From the Collection of Robin Allison


Cupid, 18k Gold
 From the Collection of Robin Allison


Day and Night, 14k Gold
From the Collection of Robin Allison


Minerva, 9k Gold
From the Collection of Robin Allison


18K Gold
From the Collection of Robin Allison


14k Gold
From the Collection of Robin Allison


800 Silver


800 Silver


By Ronci


Gold Filled

   
   
   
A Collection of Anonymous Women


Couple Shell Cameo, 14k Gold
From the Collection of Cat Thompson


From the Collection of Deborah Kosnett


From the Collection of Deborah Kosnett


From the Collection of Deborah Kosnett


From the Collection of Deborah Kosnett


From the Collection of Deborah Kosnett

CAMEO HABILLE


From the Collection of Deborah Kosnett


From the Collection of Deborah Kosnett


From the Collection of Deborah Kosnett


Unmounted Ring-Size Cameo
From the Collection of Cat Thompson


14k Gold
From the Collection of Robin Allison

HARDSTONE CAMEOS


Onyx with Platinum and Diamonds
From the Collection of Robin Allison


Etruscan Revival, 14k Gold
From the Collection of Robin Allison


Amethyst, Pearls, 14k Gold
From the Collection of Robin Allison


Cherub, 14k, Diamonds, Pearls
From the Collection of Robin Allison


Athena, 14k Gold
From the Collection of Robin Allison


18k Gold, Diamonds, Pearls"
From the Collection of Robin Allison


9K Gold


From the Collection of Cat Thompson


Hardstone Cameo with Enamel and Stones


Tiger's Eye

CORAL CAMEOS


Psyche, 14k Gold
From the Collection of Robin Allison


10k Gold


Gold Filled Bookchain


Gold Filled Slide

LAVA CAMEOS


Eros and Lion, Sapphires, Rubies, Pearls
From the Collection of Robin Allison


Medusa
From the Collection of Robin Allison


   

Lava Cameo Bracelets
From the Personal Collection of Kim DeWitt Paff

PLASTIC CAMEOS

GLASS CAMEOS


Czech Assembled Cameo


Czech


Mosaic Frame, Italy


Dyed and Assembled

JASPERWARE CAMEOS


The Three Graces, Wedgwood


From the Collection of Cat Thompson


Wedgwood

 

I hope you enjoyed the photos. To see what's available for sale at my site, visit World of Eccentricity & Charm or click here.

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