The Cameos

Cameos are in fact a miniature work of art.

While the birthplace of the cameo was nearly 300 years BC; in Alexandria, Egypt; cameos owe their origins to ancient carving traditions. As far back as 15,000 BC, petroglyphs as figures carved into rock were used to record significant events and communicate information. “The cameo, perhaps more than any other form of a jewel, has been appreciated as a work of art and an object of virtue since ancient times through to the Renaissance era and the Neo-classical period,” said Michele Rowan, owner of antique store Rowan & Rowan and author of “Nineteenth Century Cameos.”

Historians explain that the jewelry style enjoyed the greatest popularity during the Roman era, the Renaissance and the 19th century. Whether carved in carnelian shell or the rare sardonyx shell, mother-of-pearl or agate; cameos have an exquisite classic beauty that has held the attention of generations even today with millennials.

We believe that Cameos are relief carvings, in effect miniature sculptures.


Today we can appreciate some designers making the classic style their own, whether as the signature of their brand, like Amedeo Scognamiglio or as one element of their design, like Jacquie Aiche, Wilfredo Rosado, Lydia Courteille and Laura Lee.

The Master Carver is Gennaro Borriello from the city of Torre del Greco, Italy; the center of cameo carving in the world that employs trained artisan carvers. This practice is still employed by designers like Aiche, who uses either vintage cameos or carved versions of her own creations, as well as Courteille.

The subject matter rarely varied; most cameos whether ancient or 17th, 18th or 19th century tended to depict scenes or personalities from Greek mythology, by the universal appeal of tales of love, loss, deception, and magic endured and reborn.

Finally, when we see the history of Cameo, the little sculptural jewel; we can appreciate an evolution from the Roman era to today; thanks to two aspects that are old fashion but always present and inn: Research, Study and Practice.

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