Cameos have been a popular form of jewelry for centuries, with their origins dating back as far as the 2nd century BC. The cameo jewelry has been used as a symbol of power, wealth, and status throughout the ages. During the Roman Empire, cameos became even more popular and were often used as personal seals for important documents or as signets for powerful leaders. In the Middle Ages, cameos were often used in religious art and were used to depict scenes from the Bible or to honor saints and other religious figures. In the 19th century, cameos became even more popular and were mass-produced using a variety of materials including shell, glass, and plastic. They were often used in jewelry and could be found in everything from brooches and necklaces to earrings and rings.
Cameos are carved by skilled artisans from gemstones, most commonly agate, onyx or shell, and designed with a raised image on a contrasting background and use a small chisel or engraving tool. Depending on the intricate nature of the design, the process can be quite time-consuming. Each cameo can vary greatly, from depictions of mythological gods and goddesses to portraits of famous figures from history & silhouettes.
A pair of vintage earrings with gold frames and white cameos lying on an old letter
Today, cameos are still used and now they’ve become even more popular as collectibles throughout the years. One reason for this is the uniqueness of each piece. Because each piece is hand-carved, no two cameos are identical, meaning a collector can build a collection of one-of-a-kind pieces.
Another reason for the popularity of cameos as collectibles is their history. Many cameos have been passed down from one family to the next generation and the next, with each piece carrying with it its own unique story. Many cameos may have been worn by famous figures throughout history from Royals to some of the biggest entertainers today, while others may have been a cherished gift from a loved one and kept in their treasure chest. Collectors not only enjoy the beauty of their intricately carved cameos but also enjoy knowing the history and stories that come with them.
For those interested in wearing and collecting cameos, here are a few things to keep in mind. First, it’s important to make sure you are purchasing a quality piece. Look for cameos that are well-carved and feature clear and detailed images. The background should be smooth and free of cracks or other imperfections. If you are purchasing a vintage cameo, be sure to ask about its condition and any repairs that may have been made. When having a cameo that has been repaired, it can hurt the value of the piece.
Whether you are interested in collecting cameos for their history and stories or wearing them as a form of self-expression, if you are looking to purchase quality cameo brooches, necklaces, earrings, or bracelets, is a great place to start!

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