Cameos: what you did not know about the popular jewelry

Now a popular form of jewelry, cameos where once works of neatly-crafted art. You will be surprised to see who started this fashion trend! Cameo carving – a method of engraving, featuring a raised image-  had its start during the Roman Empire. This technique was mainly used on glass vases typically in blue, white and black. The Portland Vase, made with violet-blue glass,  is one of the oldest works of Roman glass cameos.

Portland Vase
Photograph by Mike Peel ( via Wikimedia Commons

The Greeks also used cameo carving to etch images of mythological gods and goddesses as well as rulers and nobles into pieces of stone.

Cameo jewelry, however, was popularized by Queen Victoria during the early 19th Century. A lover of exquisite jewelry and art, Queen Victoria was known to give out lavish cameo charms to her family and friends.


The look was further popularized when less expensive Conch shells substituted expensive precious gems and heavy stones. Mass production of mock-cameo jewelry in rings, brooches, and necklaces brought cameo crafting into the homes- and wardrobes- of the middle class.

The popular fashion trend is extremely popular today! Just take a look at my ever-growing collection!

For more information on cameo jewelry and Victorian fashion click here.


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