Cameos are a type of jewelry where a gem or shell is carved out leaving a raised relief image in a contrasting color. Common depictions on cameos are Greek Gods & Goddesses, beautiful women, Biblical events, heroes, and rulers. The type of cameo we see today is much different from the very first cameos ever made. In fact while cameos are now often worn by women, they used to be a status symbol and worn mostly by men. Women did not begin commonly wearing cameos until they were popularized by Queen Victoria of England.
Early cameos can be traced back to 300 A.D. where they are made out of carved stones such as Onyx or Agate and these are known as “Hardstone” cameos. Around 25BC - 50AD Roman glass cameos made an appearance, which are rare, and have a blue glass base with a white overlay. The most commonly seen are shell cameos, started in the 15th & 16th century. These are typically carved from mussels or cowry shells, however recently conch shells have been used also. Come see our large collection of cameos in our Estate Selection here at Tick Tock Jewelers.