Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cameos

A cameo is an image of a small scene or figure raised higher than it's background and carved from one material.  Also known as a low relief carving.

Cameos date back to 300BC in Alexandria, Egypt where they were carved into rock to record events and information.  The Greeks and Romans depicted images of gods and goddesses in their cameos.

Most of the cameos we see today were inspired by the romantic elegance of the Victorian Era and were carved in sea shells.  They were used in brooches, hair pins, earings and necklaces.  The favorite piece of jewelry of many women during this time period.  And lately seem to be enjoying a popular resurgence!

This necklace was a Christmas gift from Anthropolgie.

 
A cameo sits on top my favorite clove scented soap purchased a few years ago in Charleston,S.C.

It may suprise some to learn throughout history cameos have also been worn by men.  Cameos have been used on military helmuts, swords and accessories.  Cameos often depicted heros and rulers.  During the Renaissance, Pope Paul II was an avid collector and wore many cameo rings.  Napoleon even wore a cameo to his wedding.  During the 18th century men used cameos to signal their prestige and culture.

Rings by Amedeo

Another less familiar type of cameo is the giant cameo.  These have been spotted in decor and add the most beautiful, unexpected, elegant quality to a room.  I have the following three images saved in my "best of the best" favorites file!

Designer Nina Griscom's Manhattan Townhouse-House & Garden, Photographed by Simon Watson

 
These were used by Grant Gibson in the San Francisco showhouse bathroom he designed.  Grant is 6'4.  I mention this in order to provide a reference of the size of these 18th-century Italian marble cameos he selected for the space!  Images courtesy of  Grant K. Gibson.  And, Tradtional Home-March 2007 Photographs by Michael Venera

      Want a cookie? Image courtesy Romantic Homes-March 2010

38 comments:

  1. So stylish, chic and romantic all at once! I love your cameo collection, and have been coveting those rings for quite some time (the blue one!)
    Love this round up!

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  2. You just reminded me that I have a cameo that we purchased in Italy that I never have done anything with. I was going to put it in a small frame, or have it made into a piece of jewelry.

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  3. Take a look at designer Amy Morris' website - she has some beautiful cameos in one of her pictures. Wonderful post!

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  4. Wow, I love those cameo rings...I'm on a search now!

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  5. I love cameos and I have 4 that I love. ONe is black background , green, pink and the natural shell colored. My Mom collects them and probably has hundreds. She love looking at their faces and the workmanship. They are pretty fascinating.Kathysue

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  6. Cameos are a favorite of mine too. They are class and timeless. The photos you shared are oh-so inspirational. And boy, those cameos in the photo with Grant are quite big. I do love them though.

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  7. What a lovely post with such beautiful cameo appearances. Love it!
    I am new to your post having arrived via 5th and State and will be sure to come back again and again.

    I, too, love cameos. My sister gave me my first one, many years ago, and to fill in the spaces, just graced me with another, quite different but equally as appealing for a recent birthday. I will be sure to send her to this post.

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  8. I love cameos and love this post! Especially the cameo cookie! I'm going to have to find my cameos now! They really are timeless don't you think?

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  9. Cameos are so special! My mother gave one to a friend when I was young, know I shouldn't , however still covet it!!

    Karena
    Art by Karena

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  10. Oh Love. I had a beautiful cameo ring with seed pearls that was my grandmothers...it's lost :(

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  11. a classic style that i often forget about, including the ones in a box. thanks for the reminder.

    loved!!! the grant gibson oversized ones, what a statement!
    debra

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  12. I, too, often forget about these. My mom has a bunch on boxes. Thanks for reminding me! Love the cookies too....how sweet.

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  13. I love how cameos are so classic, timeless and elegant. I especially love those giant wall cameos in the first image in your "best of the best" file! Great find!!

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  14. Pretty things and a history lesson... my favorite kind of post! Love those enormous versions Gibson used. And to think I passed on Romantic Homes at B&N the other day. I should go back and buy it so I can see where those cookies come from!

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  15. Love cameos and that cookie is calling my name!

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  16. lol..love randomness..and this post! Gorgeous cameos..~lulu

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  17. My love of cameos started as a little girl when my mother gave me Holly Hobby(!) cameo earrings. My mom has a beautiful cameo ring and a lovely pair of cameo drop earrings. I used to borrow them for occasions but never felt 'grown up' enough to have my own (even though I'm in my 30s). I love, love, love the Anthropologie cameo, and now will think about adding an element like this to my own wardrobe.

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  18. I just love original posts like this! Cameos have special memories for me as well, as my grandmother wore one.

    Egypt..wow that's so interesting!!

    Best,
    Michelle

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  19. Oh I love cameos! I thought the rings were totally calling my name and then I saw those cookies...yum!

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  20. beautiful post- cameos are just so unique and special. my sister received a beautiful antique cameo necklace from her in-laws on her wedding day-what a lovely gesture-love your blog!

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  21. I love cameos. I bought a blue one when I visited Italy in 2002 and I still wear it regularly -- they all just feel so special, so individual.

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  22. I have always wanted a cameo. My aunt, who recently passed and was so special to me always wore a cameo. So they remind me of her and what a wonderful lady she was. Great post!
    xx-Gina

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  23. Cameos always remind me of my mom! I am glad you enjoyed the "Dog Judo" - most people don't get it. Have a great weekend! xx

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  24. i adore cameos! loved this!
    thanks for the comment today,
    joni

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  25. WHT A LOVELY BLOG,I ENJOYED SO MUCH READ SUM OF THE POSTS,CONGRATS.A GREAT WEEKEND(=^▽^=)

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  26. i LOVE your cameos. And I also loved your 5 words, thanks for playing. I have enjoyed reading everyone words.

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  27. Beautiful! My grandmother had some lovely pieces. Those cookies....
    DONT TOUCH!

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  28. I received some gorgeous cameo earrings last Christmas from a good friend. They had belonged to his mother, but he knew that I often wear vintage jewelry and he wanted me to have them. He wanted them to be worn, to imagine a little of his mom out there traveling around the world. I thought it was such a charming idea and I wear them often.

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  29. Such a beautiful and romantic post!.
    It was like travelling back in time ...thank you !!

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  30. I so understand about being tech. chall. I am that way too. I can't wait to see your S.S. in images, don't let me miss it!

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  31. Ultimate jewelry pieces. Love them.
    X
    V

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  32. hello, thanks for visiting my blog, I have enjoyed finding my way here also. I hope to discover more about a fellow acorn fan!

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  33. I love the turquoise cameo ring! I am lucky to have my grandmother's cameo pin; a pin that my aunts tried to "steal" from me after my mom died. Cameo pin? What cameo pin?

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  34. Great post and images on cameos. They are truly classic!! Love the cookies :)
    I wanted to thank you for your sweet comments on our son's exciting news!! I guess you're in the same boat right now! I'd love to hear about your daughter and where she might be headed!! This is our only child so it's all very new and exciting for us! What about you?
    ~xo

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  35. All of these comments and stories really made me smile!!! Thank you all so very much for sharing them with me!

    ~Rebecca

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  36. I just adore cameos. My mother always loved them and wanted a cameo ring - this just reminded me. xo Terri

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment!