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Cameo Jewelry Information


There are two different methods of carving a cameo: "Relief" which is carved from the front with only the front profile showing in a contrasting colored background, and "Intaglio" which is carved from the rear of the profile or picture.

Just when the first cameo was carved is unknown but it's believed that it was some time during ancient Greek or Roman times. Cameos were quite popular in both areas and were carved from stone such as Agate. Shell was not used until a much later date.

  Throughout history, cameos have been popular. Queen Elizabeth loved to wear cameos and Catherine the Great had an impressive collection. Cameos and Intaglios were very popular during the Victorian period; they were worn as pins and pendants, usually on a black velvet or satin ribbon.
  In the 19th century, skilled artisans utilized gemstones, stone, shell, lava, coral and man-made materials to produce cameos. The cameos of the Victorian period usually had motifs that included gods and goddesses from mythology. Other carvings depicted a dreamlike-to-realistic quality. Naturalism appealed to the Victorians, which produced many cameos with a floral motif. A prized souvenir for a Victorian was a cameo according to her likeness. These commissioned portraits were very popular.
This is a very nice hand-painted vintage 1880 porcelain portrait cameo. The lady is wearing a robe in colors of blue, turquoise and fuchsia, topped with a fur color. She has a very pretty face with blond hair. It is oval in shape and measures 1-1/2" by 1-1/4". The cameo is mounted in a brass frame and there is an old "C" clasp closure. There are a few minor surface scratches, however, it is in great condition for its age.
  What is cameo jewelry?
  The advice on about cameo jewelry antique to vintage Information comes from jewelry experts Linda and Perry, as well as from our frequent visitors. If you'd like to add anything to this page, or have us add a topic of interest for you, email us at


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