The most famous websites show you antique cameos, old and vintage: the word “victorian” is used more for identify a style more than the real age of a product. Every cameo in these websites is described as old, estate, victorian, edwardian or things like this. I don’t wanna go too much in depth in this polemic but I can say that online there are more victorian cameos than cameos done in these times.. Let’s anyway call things with their proper name: and let’s call plastic or FAKE what has nothing to deal with the real Italian art of cameo jewelry. I think I can easily answer to the first one with this post on my blog So let’s reveal 3 simple tricks you should use Why this happen? Easy to answer: there was not pollution and that’s why conch shells were better and thicker.

gold and carved shell, lava and glass cameo brooch

These items are not for sale and the descriptions, images and prices are for reference purposes only. You can reduce the number of items displayed by entering a keyword that must be included in the description of the item. Victorian 9ct shell cameo brooch depicting a winged maiden Show 5 more like this.

Information on Age and Dating Cameo Jewelry. I have a cameo ring set in either 18 or 22k yellow gold that belonged to my great grandmother (I think.

One of the most popular jewelry items of the Victorian era, the cameo traces its roots to ancient Rome. And since a cameo is carved from a single material, anything from agate and onyx to shells, that sounds about right. Cameos are usually carved in relief; the figure or scene stands out, with the rest of the shell carved away.

Prince Cameo — The Louvre. Photo in Public Domain. At some point, the Italians began to carve cameos from shells, and the town of Torre del Greco is still famous for its superb work. While cameos never went out of style, they wax and wane in popularity.

The History of Cameo Jewelry

Many different materials were used for carving cameos. These stones, with layers of different colors, allowed for depth and nuance in the carvings. Tropical helmet shell was extensively used for its good color contrast and depth of layers.

Find customizable Vintage Cameo invitations & announcements of all sizes. Pick your favorite Antique Cameo Photo Save the Date Invitation. 2 colors.

Antique cameos are beautiful works of art, as well as jewelry. Cameos can come in the form of a pin, necklace, brooch, ring or bracelet. Cameos have been in existence since ancient times; a cameo made from agate, dated from around B. The Victorian era saw a renewed interest in classics and many cameos from that time featured Greek gods and goddesses from mythology.

In order to identify an antique cameo, a jeweler’s loupe is needed to closely examine the cameo to date it and also to tell if it’s fake. Examine the cameo to identify the material. Cameos can be made from various materials: shell, stone, coral, lava, plastic, glass or ivory. The type of material can indicate what era it is from.

How to Identify and Buy Cameo Jewelry

Cameos have been treasured throughout the ages. They are made from hand carved shell, agate, marble, coral and precious gemstones, and even made from volcano lava. Early Cameo History. They might depict the portrait of the King or Ruler of the time therefore showing political allegiance of the wearer , or show a religious icon. Cameos were also used as amulets and charms to guard against evil spirits and promote good luck. The main materials used in the making of ancient cameos were precious gemstones and hard-stones such as marble and agates — back then, shell cameos were considered inferior imitations only to be worn by the poor.

Bacchanale Materials: shell Date: ca Size of the cameo: 2 1/2 x 2 1/16 inches (65 x 53 mm) Condition: mint. | Cameos, my first love | Pinterest.

The Roman tradition of cutting cameos continued into the early Christian and Byzantine periods but in far fewer examples. Only a few large cameos with portraits of the Emperor and the imperial family survive, most dating from the Constantinian period. Most cameos of the late antique period 3rd to 6th centuries AD are small and cut with simple acclamations “May you live” or “Lord help” , often naming the owner. In the 6th century, some fine cameos depict religious images, notably the Annunciation and angels, while one unusual workshop produced cameos with Dionysiac imagery.

Cameo engraved with two standing angels, holding a long cross. The Greek inscription below names the exousiai , or “Powers”, one of the angelic orders.

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Jewelry trends are cyclical; everything old eventually becomes new and cool again. Cameo jewelry is elegant and iconic. But with rising popularity comes an increase in imitation pieces.

Cameo jewelry is a timeless antique that still holds true beauty and value until , so all cameos that are plated were carved after this date.

Large cameo on the lower left is likely the oldest. Made in gold fill with a pin that extends past the brooch and does not have a safety. The coral cameo upper middle appears to be from the Art Nouveau period based on the scroll work and symmetry of the mounting. They are surprisingly abundant and produced with several different materials, so a great variety of types and motif’s exist.

The most common material is shell. So when did the Cameo come to be? It is said that they were already popular when Queen Victoria of England ascended the throne. How do you know if you have found a valuable cameo? Stone cameos are typically of greater value compared to those made of shell. The frame in which the cameo is set also affects the price.

Dating cameos

The shells most prized for carving cameos are those with naturally occurring layers of contrasting color. Shown here is a cameo carved into a kameynye shell, from the collection of author and historian Carol Greene. Courtesy of Dr. Anthony Cavo. The Italian word for cameo is cammeo.

I chose an antique 14kt gold and diamond Cameo ring that I have, wear and treasure to this day. What’s not to love about Cameos. After all.

It nearly always features a raised positive relief image; contrast with intaglio , which has a negative image. A variation of a carved cameo is a cameo incrustation or sulphide. An artist, usually an engraver, carves a small portrait, then makes a cast from the carving, from which a ceramic type cameo is produced. This is then encased in a glass object, often a paperweight.

These are very difficult to make but were popular from the late 18th century through the end of the 19th century. Originating in Bohemia , the finest examples were made by the French glassworks in the early to mid-nineteenth century. Today the term may be used very loosely for objects with no colour contrast, and other, metaphorical, terms have developed, such as cameo appearance.

This derives from another generalized meaning that has developed, the cameo as an image of a head in an oval frame in any medium, such as a photograph. Ancient and Renaissance cameos were made from semi-precious gemstones , [3] especially the various types of onyx and agate , and any other stones with a flat plane where two contrasting colours meet; these are “hardstone” cameos. In cheaper modern work, shell and glass are more common.

Glass cameo vessels, such as the famous Portland Vase , were also developed by the Romans.

Antique Cameos

I have been seeing more and more cameos, not just in my business, but in magazines and at auctions as well. It used to be that you knew that if your cameo was hand carved from shell, agate, marble, coral or precious gemstones. There are certain things you can do to determine if you cameo is made of plastic or of shell or stone.

The author provides captivating color pictorial examples of this wearable art form, and clues to circa-dating antique and vintage cameos. As a bonus.

I still daydream about the masterfully carved huge bigger than an egg brooches I saw in the Italian pavilion of the JCK Las Vegas show several years ago. I think cameos are ideal for making one-of-a-kind jewelry, even today. Their designs range from ancient to traditional to modern and whimsical have you seen the sugar skull and unicorn cameos? Jeanenne Bell, G. Here are the parts I found most interesting, to answer the most common questions about cameos.

The men wore them in watch fobs, rings, and pins. Stone cameos were cut from onyx, agate, sardonyx, cornelian, coral, lava, and jet. When the travelers returned home, their friends were enchanted with these small works of art. The remainder is carved away to expose the darker ground. In shell and stone cameos, the true artist takes advantage of different layers and faults in the material to enhance the design.

Graceful, smooth-flowing lines with much detail are signs of a good one.


With women. The delicate features carved into gorgeous shells and other material seem so magical. I once had a very good friend several decades older that had an unbelievable Cameo collection. One day, as she felt she was nearing the end of her life, she offered me my pick. I chose an antique 14kt gold and diamond Cameo ring that I have, wear and treasure to this day.

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Often carved into material that naturally has two contrasting colors, cameos actually date back to ancient times. By carving into a material until they hit the contrasting color, makers of cameos created a unique image. How old are they? The kinds of cameos that antique aficionados typically find will probably be from the Victorian era onward, but cameos date back to ancient times and were popular during the Renaissance, too. Why did they become popular? This continued through the years as Romans and Greeks paid tribute to mythical gods via the cameo, until they eventually became a status symbol and sign of wealth in the 16th century and beyond.

Photo credit: eBay. Are they tough to find? Yes and no. Some specific aspects are tough to find, like cameo portraits that face to the left or a Victorian piece that is several centuries old. More modern cameos or cameos with relatively typical portraits can be inexpensive and easier to find. Unusual portraits or scenes can be much more valuable. Cameos made from colored stones or simply that have several layers of color, according to Antiques Roadshow , are considered rare and valuable.

How much do they cost?

How-To Identify An Antique Cameo

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