RELICS & ARTIFACTS® are faithfully reproduced from antique originals I collected for many years and from all over the world. Their unique beauty comes from the fact that they where hand crafted by master artisans thousands of years ago.
Cameos and Intaglios are some of my favorite items to collect, I don’t have a large collection of these little beauties but the ones I do have are exquisitely and expertly carved.
Cameos haven’t always been decorative jewelry for women. During different points in history they have been worn as frequently by men. The birthplace of cameo carving was in Alexandria, Egypt, but cameos owe their origins to ancient carving traditions. As far back as 15,000 BC, petroglyphs, figures carved into rock were used to record significant events and communicate information. In ancient times people used cameos to depict an ethic or moral, or to make a statement about their faith or loyalties.
In the centuries since, cameos have been used for various purposes and decorated with a wide range of carvings. The early Greek and Roman carvings featured images of goddesses, themes from mythology, beautiful women and historical events. They also depicted living heroes and living rulers.
Do you know that in the Hellenistic era young women used cameos to express desire? A woman would wear a cameo depicting a dancing Eros (Cupid) as a seductive invitation to love.
During the Renaissance, Pope Paul II was an avid cameo collector. It is told that, this love ultimately led to his death. His excessive display of carved gems and stones on his fingers kept his hands so cold that he caught the chill that meant his death.
Cameos have been used on helmets and military accessories like breastplates and sword handles, on rings and other jewelry, and on vases, cups and dishes.
Women began collecting cameos to show cultural status during the Elizabethan period and tourist travels to the ruins of Pompeii were on the rise and women began collecting shell and lava cameos as souvenirs in remembrance.
During the 18th century, men purchased carved gems to mark their prestige and culture.
Cameos enchanted Napoléon, who wore a cameo to his own wedding and founded a school in Paris to teach the art of cameo carving to young apprentices.
It wasn’t until the nineteenth century, when the popularity of seashell cameos grew, which reduced the use of hard stones or agate. These beautifully carved profiles are as popular a subject matter and are still collected to this day.
Collect some Cameos of your own Here