Did you know? The origins of cameo jewelry can be traced as far back as the 3rd century BC!
But what is a cameo, really? A cameo is a method of carving an object such as an engraved gem, item of jewelry, or vessel. The item is carved with a raised relief frequently depicting a face or a mythical scene.
Cameos can crafted from many materials, and are often made from carved shell, coral, or lava. Stone, such as onyx, sardonyx, and agate are also popular. And, faux cameos made of plastic, glass or resin, abound.
Although the process of carving a cameo was originally painstaking and completed by hand, today’s cameos (even real stone versions) are often carved with the aid of an ultrasonic mill. This allows many copies of one design to be manufactured with both ease and consistent quality.
And, cameos are everywhere. According to leading jewelry trade magazine JCK, “… Erica Cloud, This Is Us actress Mandy Moore’s stylist, named cameos among the looks she sees ascending. Celebrities including Kanye West, Beyoncé (a client of Amedeo’s), and Chloë Sevigny have all rocked cameos in recent months. Rihanna, Queen of Edgy Jewelry, even pinned a classic black-and-white cameo to her black beanie…”
So, how do you adapt this traditionally sedate look into a contemporary wardrobe? According to JCK, “pace-setting jewelry brands including Jacquie Aiche and Amedeo have been busy subverting the once-grandmotherly style in modern, irreverent ways.”
One of my personal new favorites is the Green Chalcedony Butterfly Cameo Pendant in Sterling Silver from Zales, pictured. All of the seriousness of a traditional cameo simply goes out the window with this whimsical little gem! Retail $50.15.
But, if you’re anything like me, you may already have few pieces of inherited cameo jewelry in the back of the jewelry box. The trick is wear these old pieces in news ways. Pin a brooch to a handbag or a hat. Cluster bunches at the hem of a skirt or on the back shoulder of a jacket. Layer necklaces with more modern pieces for a beautiful mix.
If you aren’t lucky enough to have a few vintage pieces, don’t despair! For more shopping options, try Ross Simons or Ruby Lane for traditional looks and Amedeo for fun and funky takes on the classic.
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