Stunning Antique and Vintage Cameos, cameo brooches, rings and necklaces. These are real cameos carved from shell and then set into metal frames ( silver or gold). Artistary and skill has gone into the creation of these lovely pieces of jewellery

These are all genuine period pieces from Victorian times or from sometime through the 1900s up to circa 1970s.

Update October 2015 - A few of these have been here longer than I would like and so have been reduced in please see the later pages for some real Cameo bargains.

What is a cameo? Its a piece where the design stands proud of the background. Normally a cameo features a figure or figures or even romantic scenery. Perhaps a ladies head or a classical scene. I saw one recently which simply featured a horses head. Its is a work of art in miniature which is meant to be worn.

A cameo can be distinguished from an intaglio which is where there design is carved into the back of the piece and then viewed from the front. Carving these began in ancient times however we come across few today which date from before the Victorian era . They are still being made today. Not all cameos we see today are carved - Some ( Like those made by Wedgwood and those made of Gutta Percha or plastics or glass) are molded.

Here is a little look at the materials that they can be made from:
1. Shell . This is what most of the cameos we see are made of. This usually has a brown /buff background with the design standing proud in a paler colour. Different shells such as that of the Queen Conch give a different colour with the conch being with with pinky tones. Most of these are carved in Italy
2. Lava from the Volcano mount Vesuvius in Italy. This is quite soft and easily carved giving a lot of detail to the design. The colour range from black, grey, though muddy brown and greenish colours to a paler cream.
3. Coral is a hard substance which is not easy to carve and so these are relatively rare but when done well have a lively pinky colour and a high shine. Be warned imitation coral in plastic does exist. A coral piece will have a much colder feel than a plastic one.
4. Jasper pottery . A speciality of Wedgwood although they were also made by other Staffordshire potteries. These were set into all types of jewellery - earrings, rings, pendants and brooches. The most popular colour is white on blue but a whole variation exists. Green and black are the next most common. Rare colours include yellow , mink and mauve.
5. Glass .These are often created in one piece in a mould - they look simila but have a much greater degree of mass production than hand carved examples. Milk glass cameos can be very attractive.
6. Hardstone . Made of different types of hardstone - agate and chalcedony being popular. This can give a good range of colour to the picture as some of the hardstones have different colour layers within them.
7.Victorian Black cameos. Mourning Jewellery made from Whitby Jet, Gutta percha, French Jet ( black Glass) and bog oak