Cameo is a method of carving that normally features a raised image.
It refers to works where the relief image is of a contrasting colour to the background.
This is achieved by carefully carving a piece of material with a flat plane where two contrasting colours meet, removing all the first colour except for the image to leave a contrasting background.
Since the late 19th century this process has been done on shell. The finest hand-carving of these shells takes place in Torre de Greco in Italy.
The shells are first marked with a series of ovals in a process called signing, then cut into oval blanks for the cameo carver.
The actual cameo is mainly cut with a metal scraping tool called a bulino.
When the details are completed, the shell is soaked in olive oil before being cleaned with soap and water and polished by hand.
The Cameo was very popular in the late 19th Century and had a revival in the sixties and seventies.
I believe that it is due for another revival so I am buying up old cameos and have had the first of them made into cufflinks, we have 4 sets in our High Street store.
Every one is original, loosley paired in to sets and hand mounted on a sterling silver setting.
The colours have a rich depth to them that works with most shirt colours especially blue.