Learn about Cameo

Cameos have been carved since antiquity, and a true cameo is a hard stone on which a design is cut in relief. Usually the stone used had a two colour bands, a dark band and a lighter band, and the image was cut into the light band leaving the darker band as background.

These cameos were carved from semi precious stones such as agate, onyx and carnelian.

However this summary is concerned with cameos produced in the 18th and 19th centuries, mostly as brooches, and most of the 19th century cameos are carved from shell.

If the cameo is carved from a semi precious stone, and well described it will usually name the stone or include the word 'hardstone' in the description, and if that word is not present the cameo can assumed to be a shell cameo. Hardstone cameos sell at a premium to a similar shell cameo.

However cameos can be made from other materials including ivory, lava, plastics and glass, and some are made by setting a relief carving to a contrasting background which could be of a different material.

Cameos that are created by a mould rather than carving are considered faux or fake cameos, although they are collectable in their own right as costume jewellery. more...

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These items are not for sale and the descriptions, images and prices are for reference purposes only.

A gold mounted large cameo brooch, the shell depicting a Greek scene, oval shaped inset in a 9 carat rose gold rim, in original case. Total weight 37.8g

A shell cameo brooch, depicting a religious character, in 9 carat yellow gold frame. Weight 30.7g.

A shell cameo, set in silver, depicting Beatrice Cenci. Length 5.5 cm

An antique 9ct rose gold cameo brooch, one oval shell pendant, whit pink in colour mounted in a rose gold frame

An antique cameo brooch, the oval helmet shell depicting an angel. 15ct yellow gold. Weight 20.44 grams. Length 7 cm. Width 6 cm.

A cameo brooch, the oval helmet shell cameo with carved female profile. 9ct rose gold. Weight 9.34 grams. Length 44mm.

Vintage cameo brooch, with rolled gold surround, size:4 cm by 3 cm

An antique cameo brooch, the pink conch shell cameo finely carved with a portrait of a maiden, mounted in an open work frame highlighted with natural pearls, mounted in gold.

An Australian gold mounted shell cameo brooch by Larard Brothers, Melbourne, circa 1900, carved with a classical maiden wearing a string of pearls, 15 carat yellow gold

Classic shell cameo brooch 9ct yellow gold patterned frame 50 x 48mm 19.9grams

Good 9ct gold, hard stone cameo brooch, weight: approx 15.8 grams, size: approx 4 by 3 cm

A vintage cameo ring and brooch, the ring set in 9ct yellow gold, made as a small panel ring set with shell cameo of oval form, depicting a female profile, framed by scrolled gold work, the brooch set in 10ct yellow gold as a large oval piece, shell cameo

A cameo brooch, the classical scene of a maiden seated with two cherubs. 9ct gold. Weight 16.18 grams. Length 5.3 cm. Boxed.

A cameo brooch with a twist frame with foliate detail. Weight 11.37 grams. Length 45mm.

A cameo brooch, the classical profile depicting Dionysus within a scalloped frame. 9ct gold. Weight 24.85 grams. Length 6.2 cm.

A cameo brooch and ring, both depicting classical profiles. 9ct gold. Total weight 13.84 grams. Brooch length 37mm. Ring size L.

Victorian Bog oak cameo brooch, featuring a raised relief portrait (A/F), approx. Weight 27.6 grams

Good cameo brooch with 9ct yellow gold surround, weight: approx 14.9 grams, size: approx 4.5 by 3.5 cm

An antique shell cameo brooch, claw set, twisted gold mount, safety chain attachment, 9ct gold. Weight 6g.

An antique shell cameo brooch, twisted rope mount, safety chain attachment, fully hallmarked Birmingham, 9ct gold. Weight 15.1g.

An antique cameo brooch/pendant, the oval conch shell finely carved in relief depicting Bacchante, mounted in a polished frame of 15ct gold.

A Victorian cameo brooch, depicting a female goddess in profile. Vine leaves through her hair, ornate fine scroll and bead detail filigree borders. 18 carat yellow gold. 57mm diameter. Boxed.

An antique gold and tasse-gem cameo pendant brooch, comprising a central oval carved tasse-gem depicting a Roman Centurion in profile. Surrounded by gold bead and spiral style mount set with eight pearls. Pearl set saddle pendant fitting. 15 carat gold, ci

A Belle Epoque cameo brooch, comprising a large conch shell oval central cameo. Finely carved depicting a pair of classical figures embracing, with on looking cherubs and hound. Surrounded by a border of small natural pearls. The base in a double scroll se

A gold cameo brooch, attractive carved shell cameo in a 9ct rose gold mount with safety chain. Weight 5.2g.

A shell cameo brooch, featuring three dancers, twisted branch mount, 9ct gold. Weight 15.3g.

A Victorian shell cameo brooch, scroll and foliate highlights, testing as 9ct gold. Weight 20.4g.

An antique cameo brooch, the oval helmet shell cameo with carved female profile. 9ct yellow gold. Weight 4.11 grams. Length 30mm. Makers mark H & N

A cameo brooch, the oval helmet shell cameo depicting the three graces. 9ct yellow gold. Weight 8.43 grams. Length 40mm

Victorian shell cameo brooch, composed of a 9ct gold bar brooch later attached with a carved portrait cameo and seed pearl mount in 15ct gold. Wt. 8g.

9ct yellow gold and cameo bar brooch, weight: approx 4.6 grams (tested as 9ct)

A large cameo brooch. Victorian, yellow gold plated, presented as a large oval cameo with coiled snake as frame, supporting a central shell cameo carved to depict a gentleman in profile, fitted with pin. N.B. Repair to reverse

Large cameo brooch with winged chariot rider, with open locket to rear, centre pivots, gold plated, size: approx 6 by 6 cm

9ct gold and hardstone cameo brooch, size approx 3 by 2.5 cm, (pin not gold)

An antique shell cameo brooch, 9ct rose gold mount, broken safety chain and pin. Weight 23.6g. A/f.

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