jewelry and objects d'art (art objects) are the subject of this month's
question that provided the original research for this article was
"What exactly makes an item a cameo?"
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."
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.
examples of cameos depicting Greek or Roman Gods, prominent individuals,
animals, action scenes, and other subjects are displayed in museums around
and agate stone appear to have been favorite media for these cameo's.
However many examples are known that utilized:
one idea that seems to connect the many versions of a cameo is:
a media with layers of different colors
relief carving (a positive image) rather than an intaglio (negative
carving), where the unwanted material is carved away.
with layers of different colors...
stone, such as agate, onyx, and jasper were (and still are used).
Wood, both naturally colored solid wood, and composites.
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
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.
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
artists are often purists who carve their authentic cameos by hand.
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
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.
a carved cameo is tedious. Increasingly finer grits of polishing
compounds, jewelers rouge are used by most artists.
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
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
- Cameo scene in sea shell
Next - White, red, and brown
- Roman cup in cameo glass
Next - Hand carving a cameo in stone
Special Offer - Natural
Ruby, classic color
- 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
A Google search using keywords such as jewelry mounting or
jewelry components can return some very interesting
information and websites.
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.
We keep gem prices low by buying quality gemstone rough
worldwide, and having the rough material cut by our gem cutters in Asia.
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’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.
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
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.
Do you enjoy jewelry and gems?
Do you enjoy talking with friends and friends