AZGem Gems

July 2012


gem stone and jewelry newslettergem stone and jewelry newsletter


The World's Most Useful
Gem & Jewelry Monthly Newsletter

Written by Carolyn Doyle for customers of
The Dorado Company

and other visitors to the website who subscribe.




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Usable Gems... and a little opinion.


Cameo Jewelry and Objects d'art


Cameo Jewelry and Objects d'art


Cameo jewelry and objects d'art (art objects) are the subject of this month's interest. The question that provided the original research for this article was "What exactly makes an item a cameo?" 

As with many subjects, there is no "exactly" to be defined. A common definition is... "A piece of jewelry, typically oval in shape, consisting of a portrait in profile carved in relief on a background of a different color."


Cameo Jewelry and Objects d'art


Many observers would agree with that very detailed and specific definition. But a cameo can be many things other than an a carved portrait fashioned into an oval-shaped piece of jewelry.

Ancient examples of cameos depicting Greek or Roman Gods, prominent individuals, animals, action scenes, and other subjects are displayed in museums around the world.


Cameo Animal Jewelry



Onyx and agate stone appear to have been favorite media for these cameo's. However many examples are known that utilized:

Sea shells







Cameo Objects d'art On Sea Shell


The one idea that seems to connect the many versions of a cameo is:

A relief carving

In a media with layers of different colors

A relief carving (a positive image) rather than an intaglio (negative carving), where the unwanted material is carved away.

Media with layers of different colors...


Cameo Carving Media Agatet


Natural stone, such as agate, onyx, and  jasper were (and still are used). Wood, both naturally colored solid wood, and composites.

Sea slell. I cannot imagine what kind of a sea creature would grow a shell thick enough, flat enough, with pleasing colors, suitable for cameo relief carving.

Hand blown composite glass. As I understand it, creating cameo glass is probably the pinnacle of the art of glass blowing. Each layer of colored glass must be added to the hand blown object while the glass is in the molten state. This, of course, means that when the carver removes material to expose different colors and create patters or scenes, they are creating art in art.



Cameo Glass Cup


Other suitable materials are known to have been used throughout history. Here again, if a material is thick enough for relief carving, has at least two layers of color, and is durable, an artist has used it.



Cameo Hand Carving


Cameo artists are often purists who carve their authentic cameos by hand.

Relief carving of a cameo employees many of the techniques and small hand tools used to carve wood or engrave in metal. In fact, engraving tools come closest to being hard enough to carve stone without re-sharpening after each cut.

Most cameo artists develop their design of a portrait or scene by drawing it on paper, and then transferring or redrawing it on the media to be carved.

Polishing a carved cameo is tedious. Increasingly finer grits of polishing compounds, jewelers rouge are used by most artists.


TigerDirect Best Sellers


Some very good cameo carvers use a power tool such as an electric Fordham flex shaft tool or air-driven dentist drill. Their artistic sensibilities and their product doesn't appear to suffer.

Cameo knochoffs are sometimes actually carved pieces that are then fixed to a contrasting background with adhesive. Some refer to these as "assembled cameos".

Other knockoffs can run the gamut from resin castings to stamped pieces.



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Photo Information

Top - Museum cameo of Jupiter, the mythical Roman god of sky and thunder

Next - Female portrait cameo in blue agate

Next - Lion cameo in onyx

Next - Cameo scene in sea shell

Next - White, red, and brown agate

Next - Roman cup in cameo glass

Next - Hand carving a cameo in stone

Lower -Gem Special Offer - Natural Ruby, classic color

Next - The King's Omega Constellation

Next - Dealer Product Image - Chrome Diopside and White Topaz Ring in Sterling

Last - Dealer Program Image - Pink Spinel and Sterling Earrings





A Google search using keywords such as jewelry mounting or jewelry components can return some very interesting information and websites.




Gem Offer



Here is this month's special gem deal. 

This round cut ruby from Madagascar displays very good color, good clarity, and is large enough to be mounted as a solitaire or center stone.

Gem:     Natural Ruby

Color:     Classic Pigeon Blood Red

Clarity:     VS2

Shape:    Round

Size:       5.7 mm

Price:      $99.00

Send me an email (with anti-spam) and tell me that you want this fine gem.

We keep gem prices low by buying quality gemstone rough worldwide, and having the rough material cut by our gem cutters in Asia.


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Gem Industry News


The King's Omega Constellation

Elvis Presley's Omega Constellation wristwatch went on the auction block at Antiquorum Auctioneers recently.

The prestigious “Important Vintage and Modern Timepieces” auction, held at Antiquorum’s Manhattan headquarters on June 12, was the venue.


Elvis Omega Watch


Elvis’s Omega, a rare, black-dialed Constellation Calendar was produced around 1960. Elvis gave the watch to Charles Hodge while in the army after Hodge expressed his admiration of the piece.

Hodge, a longtime friend and confidant of Presley was a member of The King's Entourage, (also known as) Elvis's “Memphis Mafia.”

The winning bidder, a private collector, bid $52,000, several times the presale estimate of $10,000 to $20,000. In addition to the watch, the buyer received a letter of attestation from Hodge.




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Jewelry Dealers


wholesale jewelry


I saw an article in a jewelry industry newsletter that focuses on the importance of keeping your customers. The article made the point that you can reduce expenses by selling (again) to those you have done business with before.

A snippet from the article bears repeating...

"Keeping your best customers loyal to your store can be a cost-effective way to increase business when compared with the expense and effort of attracting new customers, said Kirsten Darrow, marketing director of Fred Meyer Jewelers."

The point is just as valid for dealers that do not operate a brick-and-mortar store.

In economic hard times your customers still want to give their loved one a gift or two that are personal. They depend on you to provide good value and low prices. When the economy picks up, they should return to you to buy more and better pieces.

Be The Quality Jewelry Discounter.


SBI Video Tour!


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Jewelry Dealers Program


jewelry dealers program


Do you enjoy jewelry and gems?

Do you enjoy talking with friends and friends of friends?

Could you use an extra income source?

Take a look at our great Jewelry Dealers Program.



Carolyn Doyle

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