Dating cameos

09 Aug

Heres how to check your cameo and offer it a little TLC first aid if necessary.

Warning, practice cleaning on a non-valuable piece first and if in doubt leave it to the professionals.

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All of these have been carved by hand as well as shell cameos. These are not carved in the traditional sense but the designs are created in moulds and then applied to the contrasting backgrounds.

The most popular colour is white on blue but a whole variation exists. Connoisseurs keep them in rows in glass cabinets so that they can look at them just like any other decorative collectable. Cameos stand proud of the background material, if they are indented they are known as intaglios 2. All the work involved in this process is why they are treated like collectable art 3. The shell cameos we know and love today came along later.

Hardstone and gemstone cameos can still be found they are much rarer. Most cameo work is carried out in Italy or by Italians abroad.

You will be very luck to find any of these but its worth keeping a look out. Many of the Victorian portrait cameos were specially commissioned as a likeness just like a portrait miniature but carved rather than painted.

Some like Queen Victorian as easy to work out but many were private individuals and so we will never know who they are. There are many thousands of imitation plastic cameos about from through the 20th century and right up to date.