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 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

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.

A carved coral brooch, carved cameo, textured gold setting; 14ct gold. Weight 16.8g.

A cameo pendant brooch, the circular shell cameo panel finely carved depicting a goddess in profile, mounted in a fine chased frame in 14ct gold

A vintage shell cameo brooch, featuring a classical portrait set in a 9ct gold frame, 48 x 36mm.

A 19th century hardstone cameo brooch, layered agate cameo featuring Greek theatrical mask portraits set in an 18ct gold surround, underside test approx 15ct, size 37 x 30mm.

A carved shell cameo brooch, featuring a classical portrait set in 800 silver, with pendant bale, hairline crack, size 45 x 35mm.

9ct gold and well carved cameo brooch, weight: approx 5.8 grams, size: approx 3.5 cm in length

14ct gold brooch set with a beautifully carved cameo of a lady, marked 14k approx 13.6g, 4 cm wide

Victorian hardstone cameo brooch, 19th century, 18ct yellow gold, depicting a female profile, approx. Weight 25.5 grams

An Australian gold mounted cameo brooch by Edward Fischer, Geelong, circa 1890, set with a finely carved shell cameo with the profile of Bacchante within a rope twist border and flanked by scrolls, marked 'E.Fischer', in a period Hardy Brothers felt box, 4

Antique classical shell cameo brooch. A 9ct yellow gold framed shell cameo of a classical female bust. Swivel hinged bale and brooch fitting. Length 4.2 cm x 3.2 cm

A vintage carved shell cameo brooch, portrait cameo in a gilt frame, 40 x 30mm.

A shell cameo brooch, open mount with ivy leaf highlights, 9ct rose gold. Weight 14g.

i) 9ct yellow gold (Tested) carved cameo brooch c.1900. Height 4.8 cm ii) 15ct yellow gold seed pearl floral brooch c.1900 length 4.2 cm

12ct yellow gold, cameo brooch well carved, weight: approx 8.1 grams, size: 5.5 cm length (tested as 12ct)