Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fine Art Cameos..............

If you love cameos as I do you'll want to continue on reading to learn something new and perhaps start your own collection someday.

Here are five Classic Beauties of Shell Cameos that I have in my collection! These are some lovely miniature pieces of art!
Vintage Cameos

I’ve discovered Cameos while selling vintage jewelry and have admired cameos for as long as I can remember. I think my first impressions of cameos came from old movies, to this day, I can recall the way cameos first impinge upon me with their timeless, crafted beauty.

Vintage Cameos

Cameos are heirlooms that are often passed on to another special person. For instance a daughter, granddaughter, niece or close friend. The new owner of the cameo will cherish it as much as the first.

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The histor of Cameos:
Throughout history, persons of royalty have set the tone for jewelry fashion. It is said that Queen Elizabeth loved to wear cameos and it is noted that Catherine the Great had a very impressive collection of them. And, the cameo survived the whims of changing fashion during the Nineteenth Century in England. Since Queen Victoria favoured cameos, the cameo was quite popular during and since her reign. They were popular as pins and pendants usually worn on a black velvet ribbon or even sometimes-pastel satin ribbons.

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During the Victorian Era, (1837-1901) every decade had its jewelry trends, but the cameo remained a favourite. And interestingly, the intaglio, which was a piece carved below the surface, came before the cameo. In ancient times, the intaglio was used to seal papers or to mark property. Later on, it became a jewelry item worn by women. The cameo is the opposite of the intaglio. It is a portrait or scene carved in relief with a contrasting colored background. In the Nineteenth Century, skilled artisans utilized gemstones, stone, shell, lava, coral and manmade materials to produce cameos.

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The making of Cameos:

Italian carvers began using shell for their creations around 1805. the Victorian Era, shell had become appreciated as a medium that was easily carved and inexpensive. Unlike carved gems, the shell cameo was less formal and was worn during the day. Stone cameos came from agate, onyx or sardonyx. These materials offered many colorful layers for carvers to utilize. Although they preferred stone, it was not always plentiful; and these artisans looked for other mediums for their designs.

Shell Carved Cameo


Popular motifs for Cameos:

Discoveries of archaeological sites in Italy and Egypt renewed an interest in the classics that influenced cameos of the Victorian Era. Motifs included gods and goddesses from mythology and other subjects related to them, such as Bacchante maidens adorned with grape leaves in their hair, the Three Graces, who were the daughters of Zeus, and Leda, a woman shown feeding Zeus and more. Scenes showcased the talent of cameo carvers and were popular with enthusiasts. Others such as Zeus in his chariot and Rebecca at the Well added elements such as houses, trees and bridges. The quality of the carving also varied from dreamlike to realistic. But naturalism appealed to the Victorians. Their love of gardening translated into cameos that also depicted flowers. And, the floral motif continues to be popular as a subject for modern cameos.

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The Emerging of the idealized woman:

A prized souvenir for a Victorian was a cameo according to her likeness. While commissioned portraits were in vogue, another kind of portrait appeared with the anonymous woman. Carvers could fashion such images in shell or lava quickly and tourists created a demand for them.

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Women pictured on cameos have included Romanesque, with classical features (with long, straight noses and Roman dress), modified images of women with upturned noses, jewelry and upswept hairstyles. The cameo habille depicted the portrait of the idealized woman adorned with jewelry, and tiny diamonds on the cameo represented jewelry such as earrings and a necklace.

The industrialization of the Victorian Era made mass production of jewelry possible. The anonymous woman was molded into cameos from manmade materials such as glass or celluloid.



Dating a Cameo:

To date a cameo with accuracy, many hours or even years of research may be necessary to train the eye. Magnification is vital and a jewelers loupe is a necessary tool in examining a carving and to be able to determine what the cameo is made of. It can detect if it is machine made, or has a snowy appearance. Such a close inspection can help a collector discover if the cameo has been carved in one piece or has been assembled from different materials and glued together.

The motif on the cameo can provide a timeframe for its origin. If a shell or stone cameo contains a classical scene, it may have originated in the 18th or 19th centuries when such subjects were popular. The anonymous woman on a cameo indicates that it comes from the Victorian Era, while the cameo habille did not become fashionable until late in the Nineteenth Century.

Physical traits sometimes reveal when a cameo was carved. The long Roman nose denotes that the piece was originated before 1850. If the nose is slightly upturned, it can be dated after the mid-nineteenth Century. A pert nose is indicative of the turn of the century. An upswept hairstyle indicates a late Victorian cameo, while shorter curls are indicative of the 20th Century.

The medium also provides clues to the history of the piece. Shell cameos were used during the Victorian Era, and later. They have a translucent quality when held up to the light. Lava came from the 17th century, but a large majority came during the 19th century from Mount Vesuvius. Jet gained popularity in the 19th Century in Whitby, England during the Victorian Era.

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For the past 25 years, carvers in Germany have produced cameos using the laser technique. It may feel rough to the touch. To learn about cameos, it is important to handle them. This allows the collector to feel, and tap them slightly against the teeth to identify whether they are made of stone, shell or other materials.

14K Gold Shell Cameo Brooch Pendant

Cameos represent a form of art that offers something for everyone.

Dark Shell Flower Cameo Pendant Brooch

P.s. I will be selling 4 of 5 of these beauties on my ebay shop and I will do a shop update once their are up!

Kisses for everyone!

37 comments:

Eunice said...

thanks for all the information, i love cameos too. They are truly precious and beautiful

heyfancypants.blogspot.com

Leilani said...

What a beautiful collection and thanks for posting a bit of history alongside them. My absolute favorite piece of jewelry is the locket (I now have 50 vintage ones!) but I also started collecting cameos recently. It would be amazing to have a cameo carved in my own likeness, how luxurious.

MarieBayArea said...

gorgeous!

lola said...

Fabulous collection!! I love cameos!!

Isabelle, said...

it's very cute.I love the cameo.
Isabelle,

ClaudsMakeUpCorner said...

I love cameos! I have two of my own and have been dying to expand my collection. Cant wait to see your sale. Thanks for the post, thsoe are beautiful!

ilsteviewonder said...

cameos are preciuos and beautiful! its great that you included the history I didn't know that :)

Carys said...

I think cameos are one of the most beautiful things ever!! I LOVE the one in the shell!!
From Carys of La Ville Inconnue

Closet full of hopes and dreams said...

I loooove history and I loooove vintage! I love this post! I really didn't know much about cameos, these are beautiful. I don't own any, but you make me want one!

Aya Smith said...

Oh, you KNOW how I love cameos!!! These are amazing and beautiful, and what a wonderful post!!!!

Love,
Aya of Strawberry Koi

ZombieLace said...

This was an incredible post!! I love cameos too but mine are all cheap imitations rummaged in thrift stores and flea markets. I had no idea they had such an intricate, long history!

Shallow Mallow said...

They are beautiful. The detail is amazing.

wardrobeexperience said...

thanks for sharing! amazing post.
i love cameos so much... i do have a genuine cameo but i don't dare to wear it, because i'm afraid of damage it. i prefer to wear my several replicas i found on some flea markets.

xoxo
www.wardrobexperience.blogspot.com

The Collar of the Dove said...

lovely post, my fave is the largest one...

Diya said...

very interesting read... I always wondered myself when I came across cameos if the female portrait is of an actual lady or just purely an artist idealist creation...
http://diyainherstilettos.blogspot.com/

robin humphrey said...

i love the picture with the cameo being carved in the shell!

Meggstatus said...

Oh my these are breathtaking!!! Oh AND, your hat collection in your last post made me smile.

WILHELMINA said...

wow, amazing !
lets follow my blog
www.pozerki.blogspot.com

Megan said...

Thank you ever so much for the sweet comment you are so lovely!
Your blog here is so sweet - I love vintage.
Oh cameos cameos! I adore them! A few years ago when i began to take an interest in vintage fashion my Grandmother gave me one of her camero brooches and I lost it! what a silly young girl i was.. I hope i can find it one day maybe..

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Darling L said...

Wow, I didn't know that much about cameos, thanks a lot for the information! Now I love those pieces even more :)

caribbelle said...

I just had to stop by and say that I'm known for my cameo collection and actually had one made in Italy. It was absolutely amazing to see the artisan make it. This history is fascinating to me. While I was at the Louvre last summer I was drooling at their Cameos for sale in the antiquaries building. They were breathtaking and completely out of my pay scale as a poor college student. Whenever I go antiquing with my mum cameos are first on my list. I'm inspired to make a blog post about this because I absolutely love cameos. I'm now a follower of your blog!!!

Dyanna Pure said...

You have an amazing collection! I'm so jealous. <3

-Dyanna Pure
www.thesfstyle.com

Ms. Chyme said...

Wow1 very nice cameos.

esme and the lane way said...

Beautiful! I just love cameos. This is a great source of info (I know nothing about them, I just think they look amazing), so thanks for sharing :)

Dimitri Zafiriou said...

Fabulous aesthetic sweetheart!Great style and outfits.I adore your icons..

Melissa said...

I loved cameos when I was little (and still do now)!

HUzzah! Vintage said...

thanks for the great history and info. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I had no idea they were carved from shells!

Queni said...

Check out my blog and brag about it 2 ur friends ;-)

Style Odyssey said...

impressive post. extremely informative, Fab. i appreciate all the work you put into this post. your collecting is swoon-worthy! i only have one cameo, i believe it's shell with filigreed 18K gold setting. it was my grandmother's.

thanks for putting this together. i'll pass it along via FB and twitter.

i'm sure your pieces will sell quickly. they're all so beautiful.

Melissa said...

Wow, I have always loved cameos, but never knew much about them. Thanks for all of the info -- so useful!

chloe said...

such an interesting post!
cameos are so romantic, i loved the extra information x

Bug said...

This is a really great post!! Wow, you have a lovely collection - I don't even own one. Really need to get on that. The history is so interesting.

inbugsdrawers.blogspot.com

PinkBow said...

may i just say what an amazing post this is! so informative. i love cameos too, so to find out more about them is so so interesting.

Natasha said...

This was really interesting, and I loved the photos. xxx

Kiran Lall said...

LOVE YOUR DRESSES!!

http://RedRockFashionBlog.blogspot.com

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