Dating cameos - dating with chronic illness
A cameo can be distinguished from an intaglio which is where there design is carved into the back of the piece and then viewed from the front.It is any piece of jewellery set with a piece which has a positive image which sits raised above the background. Made of different types of hardstone – agate and chalcedony being popular. Mourning Jewellery made from Whitby Jet, Gutta percha, French Jet ( black Glass) and bog oak..
These include Nyx with the owl, any cameo carved with winged subjects such as Cupid and Psyche 9.The most popular colour is white on blue but a whole variation exists. Connoisseurs keep them in rows in glass cabinets so that they can look at them just like any other decorative collectable. Cameos stand proud of the background material, if they are indented they are known as intaglios 2. All the work involved in this process is why they are treated like collectable art 3. The shell cameos we know and love today came along later.Hardstone and gemstone cameos can still be found they are much rarer. Most cameo work is carried out in Italy or by Italians abroad.Its a piece where the design stands proud of the background.Normally a cameo features a figure or figures or even romantic scenery. I saw one recently which simply featured a horses head. Its a work of art in miniature which is meant to be worn.Carving these began in ancient times however we come across few today which date from before the Victorian era . Not all cameos we see today are carved, it just depends on the materials they are made from . Materials Here is a little look at the materials that they can be made from: •1. This is what most of the cameos we see are made of. This can give a good range of colour to the picture as some of the hardstones have different colour layers within them. Other popular materials include hardstones such as agate and onyx but these are much tougher to carve making good images quite expensive. Wedgwood made a great range of cameos from Jasper ceramic, these have actually been created in two pieces with the design applied to the background rather than carved into it, they are becoming highly collectable. The very cheapest pieces are normally moulded and coloured plastic , there has been no skill in the making of these pieces and at the moment have little or no value.
This usually has a brown /buff background with the design standing proud in a paler colour. This is quite soft and easily carved giving a lot of detail to the design. These are often created in one piece in a mould – they look similar but have a much greater degree of mass production than hand carved examples. You can find most types of jewellery set with cameos – rings, bracelets, earrings, necklaces and of course beautiful brooches.
Heres trade secret, Look on the side of the frames,on the outside.
You will sometimes find gold and silver hallmarks hidden here.
Heres how to check your cameo and offer it a little TLC first aid if necessary.
Warning, practice cleaning on a non-valuable piece first and if in doubt leave it to the professionals.
In the 20th century we developed a taste for pretty lady cameos especially those who appear to be wearing flowers in their hair or wearing jewellery of their own. A cameo which has jewels set into it is known as a Cameo Habille ( which I think is French for dressed cameo). Cameos which appear to be made from sludgy brown or grey rock are carved from lava from Italian volcanoes such as Vesuvius. Look carefully on the back of a cameo, if you are lucky you may just find a signature.