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!
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.
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