Free Shipping on orders over € 500

Your purchase

Your cart is empty

What's a Cameo Jewel?

What’s a Cameo Jewel?

How many times have you heard of the cameo and wondered what it was?
No, we are not talking about the cameo in the cinematic field, but about all those authentic works of art made by hand by the best craftsmen.
A cameo is a gemstone carved in a raised relief that usually features landscapes, mythological figures, or most notably, portraits of women’s profiles or religious characters. These hand-carved, detailed reliefs are typically set in gold or silver and used to adorn pieces of jewelry, such as necklaces, bracelets, pendants and rings.
Discover more about this ancient kind of high-value jewelry.

Cameo jewel
Cameo badge with woman.

History of Cameo Jewels in brief: where does it come from?

The most ancient versions of cameo jewels can be traced back to prehistoric petroglyphs, which were used to depict religious figures and mythological images onto rocks. With the rise of the Roman Empire, cameo craftsmen began to expand upon their uses and portrayed political portraits into their artwork.
Since that time, cameo carving greatly progressed during the Renaissance and Elizabethan periods where elite women started donning cameos to showcase their cultural status. However, the most well-known era for the collection and distribution of cameos was inspired by royal cameo collectors Queen Victoria and Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in the 19th century.
What’s curious about the cameo’s popularity is that the vogue of cameo was started by none other than Napoleon, who was the most detested man in England even decades after his demise. But then, as he himself observed, “fashion condemns us to many follies.”

Example of Cameo JewelExample of Cameo Jewel.

How much does a Cameo jewel cost?

Cameo jewelry values vary significantly depending upon the intricacy of the carving and authenticity of the piece. High-quality, one-of-a-kind cameos can cost upwards of $10,000; however, cameo knock-offs can be quite inexpensive.
Among our pieces of religious jewelry, you can find some artworks reproducing the well-known cameo technique.
Take a look at this cameo necklace, depicting Our Lady of Grace, also known as Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.

Cameo necklace with Our Lady of Grace


A Cameo Jewel is composed of…

Basically gemstones and natural materials, such as onyx, sardonyx, agate, ivory, coral and lava. If you want to check if your cameo is authentic and not a fake one, it has to be made with these materials; forget about plastic, resin or glass.
Another way to recognize its authenticity is this: if you can see through it and have a good glimpse of the outline of the design, it's likely authentic and made from shell. Other versions with other materials aren’t as transparent.

What type of cameo is more appropriate to wear?

There’s not really a rule about it.
The cameo artwork can be applied to necklaces, rings or pendants.
Discover them all!

Cameo pendant with Ex Voto
Cameo ring with Ex Voto
Cameo Pendant with the Blessed Mother and Infant Jesus





Previous post
Next post