From ArticleWorld

Cameo is an item of jewelry made by carving a raised (positive) relief image. Another kind of cameo is a proof coin. The proof coin usually shows frosted lettering and features. The lettered features provides an attractive contrast with the mirrored fields of the coin.



Cameos were produced in Greece as far as sixth century B.C., and were popular in Ancient Rome, more sporadically during the Renaissance, and in the seventeenth and eighteenth century. The most popular cameos today are carved from sea shells, popularized in the fifteenth and sixteenth century by Queen Victoria of England. At this time the cameo began to showcase women’s profiles. The birthplace of the cameo was before the birth of Christ, nearly 300 years ago, in Alexandria, Egypt. The way cameos were made originally came from ancient carving traditions called Petroglyphs. Figures carved into rock, were there to help recognize important events and communicate information about ones beliefs.


The cameo is made from two types of materials

  1. commonly precious stone
  2. Semi-precious stone


The semi-precious or the precious stone, only one is used, is carved into a figure. This figure is more than likely a profile portrait of a person’s head. It is then set upon the alternative stone. The contrast between the two stones helps to provide a background of a different color, consequently helping to illuminate the figure better.


  • Deep cameo and ultra cameo describes cameo coins having the strongest and most attractive contrast.
  • Intaglio is a raised (negative) image. It is carved from the rear of the profile or picture
  • Relief is a carving from the front with only the front profile showing or one side, instead of the sculpture being seen from all sides
  • Banded agate is a cameo where different layers of the same stone have different colors, dye is sometimes used to enhance the colors.