Cameo jewelry is definitely not making a cameo role in the wedding scene. Queen Victoria prized the jewelry, and it’s definitely en vogue. Plus, a Victorian themed wedding can be inspirational and fun to incorporate into DIY projects. Who doesn’t love elegant lace accents, beads and feathers? Martha Stewart Weddings shows how Victorian chic cameo jewelry can be.
The Cameo can date back to the Ancient and Roman periods in the form of gems, glass, coral and sea shells which were carved into jewelry, signet rings and objets d’art. Not much is known about its true origins. What we do know is that cameo jewelry are tiny sculptured masterpieces. They are a window to what life used to be like. They originally captured the beauty ideals, values and norms of people we will never meet.
Cameo jewelry is made in two ways. Cameos start as rough sea shells, coral or gems. However, not any seashell can become a cameo. The preferred shells come from Africa and the Caribbean. After picking the perfect shell, artisans begin the intensely detailed process of creating a smooth and refined cameo.
Relief — Cameos carved in relief are carved only from the front and only the profile is visible.
Intaglio — Cameos carved in intaglio are carved from the rear of the image and the carving is three-dimensional; the carved sculpture is visible from all angles.
While cameo jewelry will make your wedding day special, they make even more special family heirlooms. Give your cameo jewelry some TLC by cleaning it as soon as you receive it. Cameo jewelry carved from seashells is prone to discoloration because of the shell’s cracking and/or drying.
• Two mineral oil baths throughout the year will help prevent discoloration.
• You will need to use a soft cloth when cleaning your jewelry — a paper towel is far too rough.
• Pearl jewelry cleaning solutions clean cameo jewelry well for more frequent cleanings.
• Treat your cameo piece like a personal treasure — store it alone to avoid chipping and scratches.