The Story Behind Cameo Jewellery

What is a Cameo?

A Cameo, often made from onyx, agate or even shell is carved in relief which means the image is projected from a supporting background. The carving is crafted on the top layer behind a lower layer of a different tone or colour.





Cameo’s have been a popular item of jewellery since the sixteenth century, having been popularised by Queen Victoria. These Cameo's boasted ornate hand crafted images of women’s profiles and figures. Indeed it was the Victorian use of Cameo's as a women's item of jewellery which has continued in their usage today, however Cameo's were in fact popular centuries before the Victorian era.

The art of cameo is in its essence derived from the ancient act of carving images into rock which dates as far back as 15,000 BC, These carvings were used to communicate everything from moral and ethical views to spiritual representations of faith and worship.

This ancient human art form of engraving can be observed across human history, Greek and Roman civilisations created cameos carved with images of the gods and ethereal figures of beautiful Grecian women.
The Renaissance era saw another resurgence in cameos as Pope Paul II was a keen collector of cameos.

It was the Elizabethan era which shifted the popularity of cameo usage from men to women and cameo’s soon became a female fashion accessory and jewellery item. Lava cameos were a popular choice for wealthy women boasting of their international travels to places such as Pompeii on their ‘grand tours’.

Today, the trend of Cameo's is back as Victorian inspired jewellery and accessories is being re imagined with a  modern twist and worn against contemporary styles. One of our expert goldsmiths has carefully crafted a collection of beautiful Cameo's in our in house workshop. Browse Online Today