Category: Antique Cameos

Examples of some of the greatest antique cameos from the past two thousand years.

What is a Commesso Cameo?

Masterpieces of the Jewelers Art A Commesso cameo is a name given to a portrait jewel that combines a carved cameo with enameled gold and other precious materials such as diamonds and gemstones. They truly are masterpieces of the jewelers’ art. Commessi were principally made during the Renaissance by jewelers in Paris and Italy. Commesso …

Record Auction Prices for Cameos

Hardstone Agate cameo Brooch Pin with five layers Caroline Bonaparte Cameo sells for a record price of $67000 at Bonhams auction in 2015. Notable not just for the craftsmanship evident throughout, but for it’s historical value. The brooch sold for nine times the estimate. This is a late 18th/ early 19th century hardstone cameo brooch …

The Art of Gem Carving Video

Carvers and Collectors: The Lasting Allure of Ancient Gems Since antiquity, gemstones have been engraved using the same methods. Follow the process from start to finish in this short video from the Getty Museum. This follows the recreation of an Ancient Greek Scarab gemstone seal by Epimenes 500B.C. Exhibition March – September, 2009 at the …

Gem carvers from Ancient Greece Exhibition

(Text copied with permission and © the Getty Museum, © J. Paul Getty Trust) The exhibition includes gems by several ancient master carvers, including Epimenes, Solon, Dioskourides, and Gnaios. These carvers sometimes signed their works, but the majority of classical gems are unsigned. With careful examination, anonymous intaglios and cameos can be attributed to known …

Cameo Appearances Exhibition

Review of the Cameo Exhibition at the Met European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Special Exhibitions Gallery, Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, New York – March 8, 2005–January 29, 2006. I visited this exhibition at the Met in New York. I flew over from London, England as this exhibition was of such a high quality. I …

Gem Engraving tools for Cameo carving

This photo shows a selection of tools for gem engraving. The carving points are made from mild steel and are set in a precision gem carving lathe. The tool is pressed against the stone and is coated with a diamond paste. This action removes material from the gemstone. The highly skilled gem engraver can create …

The Ancient Egyptian Cameo of Ptolemy

The Ptolemaeus cameo, also known as the Ptolemaeer Cameo Pictured is the Ptolemaeus cameo, also known as the Ptolemaeer Cameo. Vienna (Ptolemy, Ptrolemaer-kameo) Cameo Sardonyx (11 layers). Ptolemaic but has been argued as Claudian and Severan.Evidence that it may have switched identities with the Gonzaga cameo during history only further complicates the scholarship but most …

The Gemma Claudia Roman Cameo

The Gemma Claudia Roman Cameo The Gemma Claudia is a Roman five-layered onyx cameo of c.49. It later found its way into the Habsburg collections now in the Kunsthistoriches Museum, Vienna (AS Inv. No. IX A 63). It is 12 cm high and set in a gold rim. It depicts two cornucopia (with an eagle …

Red Jasper cameo of Medusa by Pistrucci

Antique Cameo of Medusa carved into Red Jasper by Pistrucci The superb jasper carving of the head of Medusa by Benedetto Pistrucci, shown above. This really is breathtaking when viewed in close up and is almost 3 inches in size. This was my personal favorite of all of the magnificent cameos that I saw at …

Antique portrait cameo carved in Lapis Lazuli

The Renaissance lapis lazuli cameo carving with a portrait of Cosimo I de’ Medici. (1519-1574), Duke of Florence and Grand Duke of Tuscany. From the Grand-ducal workshops, Florence. Date: ca. 1567–69 Culture: Italian (Florence) Carved into Lapis lazuli Based on a portrait-medallion. Dimensions: 2 3/16 x 1 13/16 x 3/8 in. (5.5 x 4.7 x …

Benedetto Pistrucci

The greatest cameo carver of the 18th Century Pistrucci carved this for Angelo Bonelli. This was later bought by the cameo collector Richard Payne Knight, who was told, by Bonelli, that this was an ancient greek cameo. Later Knight showed this cameo to Pistrucci and refused to accept his explanation of having carved it himself. …

Antique 3 layer Religious Cameo

Antique 3 layer Cameo from the 15th century. A religious cameo with scenes from the Old and New Testament. The cameo is carved from a three layer agate. Clever use is made of the top black layer. This has been thinned to create brown shading on the figures which are carved in the white layer. …

The Gonzaga Cameo

A double portrait, of  Ptolomy II and Arsinoe II A double portrait, believed to be of the couple Ptolomy II Philadelphus and Arsinoe II, from Alexandria, carved in Sardonyx, with three layers. From the 3rd century BC. Bought in 1814 and originating from Malmaison, a gift from Josephine Beauharnais to Alexander I. Kept in St …

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