I have slowly been chasing down the perfect cameo ring for some time now. I love the raised carvings contrasted with the negative space! On top of this, I’m pumped by how many vintage cameos depict female gods and warriors. The same things that appeal to me about giant coin pendants intrigue me about cameos: they’re a slice of history, a statement to be made and a keepsake, all in one.
Through the ages, many different materials have been utilized to maximize the cameo. In Ancient Rome, onyx and agate were carved to depict these reliefs. As time passed, particularly during the Renaissance, shells and glass became the main, cheaper bases.
I’ve been cautious about pouncing on a particular cameo because I wanted to be sure that I liked the relief as much as the jewelry’s design. (Unfortunately, I find a lot of current cameo jewelry to be a bit too ornate. Heavy on the filigree, etc. Vintage cameo jewelry, on the other hand, is way out of my budget. Alas!)
Just a quick note: Although the Victorian cameo is very stiff-upper lip, upturned nose, what have you, I think there are a bunch of far more relaxed takes on the cameo available. Not everyone wants to wear a broach at the neck…(Does anyone?)
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