What is a cameo

What is a cameo and an intaglio?

The term cameo is used in cameo jewellery, but what does it actually mean. Cameo refers to the raised image or carved relief on it's background. It can be made from shell, gemstone, molded resin, stone, glass, lava, mother of pearl or any other materials.

It is one of the oldest ways of designing jewellery. Cameos can be found in Egyptian & Roman times right through to today. Very popular in the Queen Victoria's era brought from Italy. Images range from the many Greek and Roman gods and goddesses to actual images of people who were famous or infamous. Then there are flowers,fish and other romantic designs. Today, we see the famous "popular goddess" as I have named her - who appeared in the 1960s and much copied.

Intaglio is the opposite of a cameo. It is the reverse carving into a background. Again found in shell, resin, glass and many other sorts of material. Very popular in the early twentieth century in glass and then plastic.
mirackle cameo brooch
Example of a cameo in resin by Miracle.

Traditional cameo
Traditional cameo with profile.

shell cameo
Shell cameo. 
Updated December 2018, Copyright Jewels & Finery UK.