Silent Angel – A Portrait of a Girl with Rhett Syndrome
An amazing story. This cameo took 1 year from the order to when it was delivered. This was because the customer became very ill with Cancer. She asked me to wait, while she had her course of Chemo. I wished her luck and waited. Judi contacted me 6 months later. She had the all clear and I could finish her order.
IT IS BEAUTIFUL-thank you for making my day!!!!! My Daughter Will love IT…We all loved it and I’m really happy I was able to see expression on my daughters face when I gave her this precious gift…Judy, San Francisco
The most fascinating challenge was when I was asked to carve a portrait of a ‘Silent Angel’. This is a name given to children born with Rhett Syndrome. A very rare, genetic condition that alters the bone structure of the child and affects mostly girls.
I carved the cameo from a white on blue layered Agate gemstone. The setting is in White Gold. A pink Pearl is set above the portrait. On the side of the setting I engraved “To the best Mommy ever, Love and hugs Maggie.” I also hand engraved the Rhett Angel on the back of the setting. This is the logo for the Rhett Syndrome society.
Symptoms of Rett syndrome occur, such as slowed head growth, abnormal hand movements, hyperventilating, screaming or crying for no apparent reason, problems with movement and coordination, and a loss of social interaction and communication.
Here is some of our design talk. We had an interesting journey in creating this special cameo.
Portrait photo is of my grand-daughter who has Rhett Syndrome, a very rare genetic disorder. She is in a wheelchair, is non verbal and has no use of her hands. I want to give this to my daughter as a gift from my grand-daughter to her mother.
As part of my research, I have just watched the documentary narrated by Julia Roberts, very moving and very interesting. I like the term “Silent Angel”, this seems appropriate.
I discussed altering her teeth slightly. To make them appear smaller and eliminate the gap between them. Our discussion is below.
I am often asked to alter teeth. I do may carvings of young children whose teeth are very uneven as they may have lost their baby teeth and have some larger adult teeth showing. Maggie has a lovely look in both photos and for best results her smile should be more subtle. I would love your feedback.
I like the first photo too-I’m not going to have you alter the teeth as this is what her teeth will always look like because of her condition. I think Michelle would want it authentic. look forward to hearing from you for placement of order thx.
Read more at Silent Angel Cameo necklace
Portrait Cameo Necklace of a Beautiful Daughter, set in Platinum
The cameo arrived about 10 minutes ago. It’s breathtaking. Thank you so much for your beautiful masterpiece. My friends are in absolute AWE of your work and several have requested more info, I’ve given them your website and do hope that they contact you.
Warm regards, Stacy.T…USA
This was one of my favorite design projects. My customer wanted an elegant and very classy piece. Her cameo was to be set in platinum. To create a story of Caroline’s life I wanted to have three elements. The most important is the gemstone portrait carved directly from her photograph. We selected a white on blue layered agate for this.I added a gold butterfly on the back of the setting to show her love of insects. Then a hand engraved personal message from the mother to her daughter on the side of the setting.
Caroline is three years old in this picture. A very vibrant, energetic little girl with a love for bugs and anything creepy crawly with a ticklish sense of humor. She would chase people with rubber snakes if she knew they had a fear of them…Stacy
Personal message from the mother to her daughter
I loved creating this very special portrait cameo necklace. The photograph of Caroline was so perfect for a gemstone carving. Making the 18kt yellow gold butterfly was a real pleasure. I did make two wriggly worms out of yellow gold as well. They were to go on the bottom of the back as if they were in the grass below the butterfly. We decided not to use them to make a simpler, cleaner design.
Cameo of a Beautiful Two Year Old Girl
A cameo of a beautiful young girl. This become a very meaningful experience for me. This order was completed just before an exhibition of some of the world’s finest Antique Cameos was due to open at the Metropolitan Meseum of Fine Art in New York. I was living in Wales at the time and felt that I had to see this.
I flew to New York and stayed for a week. I arranged to meet up with Mark and we spent an afternoon with Mark his wife and his daughter in Central Park. I was able to see for myself how well I captured her likeness.
The cameo arrived a few moments ago. It really is a stunning piece of work. Again, thank you so much! It’s going to be really hard to not give this to my wife early. Thank God I only have 3 days to wait. If it were more than that, I would never make it.
I would be honored if you wanted to place a picture of this on your web site. I hope that I’ll be able to send more work in your direction as well. Thank you so much again. I look forward to meeting you on Sunday!
I have to say that you have done an outstanding job. The cameo is absolutely beautiful. It really is a stunning piece of art. It was great for us all to meet you in New York on sunday. We hope you were able to see how accurately you sculpted my daughters face into the stone when we visited in Central Park. My wife loves her cameo and our appreciation of your artistry continues to grow. Yours…Mark, New York
Part of our discussion on getting the perfect likeness. Mark had a concern about her right eye, prompted by a progress photo. This was my response.
The area of the upper cheek around her right eye needs to be carved to angle back more. This is what gives the curious look, as it is the uplifting of the eyes and upper face that shows this. This is actually a hard profile to get right. As there is not an overt smile, there is a tendency for her to look sad. So i have to be aware of this, a slight upturn of the mouth will help to avoid this. Also in this profile the main cheek mass is in the lower half of the face, in adults it is the other way around.
When I work I find that I have periods of great clarity when I can see all that needs to be done and will quickly get the features correct. There are other times, when I need to break and come back to the work refreshed, to be able to get in the “zone”.
Thanks for your kind words. Sorry for the delay in replying. I have been very busy since arriving back. I really enjoyed my trip to New York. I spent two days in the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art. I discovered the upper floor full of great art by Van Goch, Degas, Manet, Monet, Picasso etc. The temple of Dendar wing with it’s Egyptian temple is amazing as well.
If you do get the chance to get to Manhattan again before October do check out the Cameo Appearances at the Met exhibition. There are some very fine pieces there. I enjoyed meeting you all in Central Park. It was a good experience to see Genevieve in person. I feel happy that i captured her well in the cameo carving. It has been a pleasure working with you on this project. Thanks, Gareth.
Read more at Portrait Cameo of a Two Year old Daughter
A Special Wedding Gift from the Bride
I have such wonderful customers. Here, the bride wanted a special gift for her Grandmother. I love that she was thinking of the happiness of another person on her own wedding day.
Hi Gareth! I just got home and opened the package and it is so beautiful. I can’t wait to give the cameo jewel to her. Thank you, Kate
I am 24 years old and getting married in August of this year. My grandmother, who is my namesake, is one of the strongest influences in my life, and I would like to make a cameo of my grandfather for her.
My grandma came from Italy when she was just 16, after having lost both her parents and living in a convent for most of her childhood. My grandma was adopted by an aunt and uncle, and was essentially used as a worker for their farm.
My grandfather was the first person who treated my grandma with the love and respect she deserved, and I would like to give her something of him that she can keep forever, on the day when I marry my loving and respecting man…Kate
A gift for the grandmother of the Bride. Presented at her wedding. The grandmother was delighted with her special gift, which was pinned onto the corsage.
I created this cameo from a wedding photo that dated from 1940. The cameo is carved into a white on red layered Agate Gemstone. I left a thin white layer to create a subtle pink background.
Their names Carmine and Anna are hand engraved on the sides. The setting is Silver and is made dual purpose so it can be worn as a pendant and as a brooch pin.
Cameo Necklace & Brooch Pin with Portrait of a Child
The cameo arrived today. My wife was overjoyed. Thank you for creating the best gift that she could ever imagine. I had involved my 3 year old daughter in the process along the way: showing her your website, proposal and stream of e-mailed photographs.
My daughter was excited to see the finished piece, but managed to keep the surprise. Even better, she was delighted to see her mothers response when she opened the gift. Thanks again for creating such a lovely work of art. – by J. S. Chicago
With this cameo I was able to really create a very special family heirloom. I was asked to create a Portrait Cameo jewel as an Anniversary gift. My customer was very involved with the project. The result was, one of my most favorite cameos.
The portrait was carved into a white on blue layered agate. We set the cameo inside a dual purpose pendant & Brooch frame made of 18kt White Gold.
The Process of Creating this Special Gift
The father sent me 10 photos of his daughter. The portrait photo we selected as has a relaxed smile, her eyes are looking up which gives a positive feel and there is a great balance between the hair, face and clothing. The three quarter view works very well in an oval shaped cameo carving.
I love to add a surprise to my Jewelry to make the gift extra special. With this cameo I suggested engraving an image on the back of the setting. The father asked his daughter to draw a picture. I hand engraved her drawing onto the white gold cameo back.
The side of the frame was hand engraved with a personal message from the daughter to her mother. This read “You are in my heart and I am in your heart too. I love you mother.”
The Story of this Cameo is in the Book Cameos Old and New
One of the cameos that carver Gareth David Eckley is most proud of is the result of a commission he received from a Chicago couple. Using a photograph as a guide, he hand-carved a likeness in blue agate gemstone of their young daughter.
Highly personalized cameos like this one accurately and lovingly, capture a moment in time of a beloved family member…Diana Jarrett, Author of ‘ Cameos Old and New – 4th Edition,’ 2008. Pages: 353
Discover the impact of a portrait cameo
Here are some of the most impactful stories from the last 21 years. I am not including photos of the cameos with these stories as I want to preserve privacy.
My first cameo portrait
This was a portrait carved onto 18kt yellow gold for a mother in 1999. This was ordered by the grandmother as present for her daughter. She chose to have a portrait of her grand-daughter. With this portrait I never met the customer as she was a client of a retail jewellers in Vancouver. I handed the completed portrait jewel to Rhonda Jones, president of Jones the Jewellers. The next day Rhonda called me to tell me of the reaction.
When the customer first saw the portrait pendant she gasped and was silent for over a minute. She then started crying. Rhonda was concerned that something was wrong with the Jewel. However the customer said that the portrait had perfectly captured the spirit of her grand-daughter as if Gareth had met her. She was overjoyed with the result. When the the lady left the store they said that she was just beaming with a broad smile and floated out of the door. She visited the store many times and became a very loyal customer.
This experience taught me that a portrait jewel can have a very powerful emotional impact.
Cameo of a premature baby
With a painful loss the wearer may well want to keep her portrait private. One day I received a series of photos of a premature baby who lived for only 15 minutes. The photos were heartbreaking and I cried when I saw them. The husband wanted the memory of his daughter to be preserved as a gemstone portrait. This was one of my most difficult orders. I felt a large responsibility to really make the portrait breathe with the spirit of the girl.
I realized that the portrait should not be displayed as a pendant or brooch. I wanted the mother to wear the cameo often, so I designed a cameo locket as the perfect solution to this dilemma. I have been told that the mother does wear the cameo jewel every day. I received wonderful news from the husband years later as his wife had given birth to a healthy baby.
Mother refused to take off her cameo for surgery
The husband and father of two asked me to make a portrait cameo for his wife. We used a photograph taken on holiday that showed the father with his two boys. The finished cameo was presented to the mother for her birthday. I heard from her husband that she has worn the cameo pendant very day since then.
Later the mother had to undergo an emergency surgery she refused to take off her cameo. The surgeon had to wait until she was anaesthetized before he could remove it. When she recovered from the anaesthetic and saw her family. She immediately checked for her cameo and asked to have it back.
Cameo to help a mother remember her son
There was a family tragedy where a mother lost her son from a tragic accident. This prompted the close friend of the mother to ask me to create a portrait cameo of the young boy. I designed a cameo locket so that the mother could wear the cameo whenever she wished as the portrait was covered by a gold lid. She could then choose to reveal it to friends or family. I engraved a line from the poem read out at his funeral as an inscription on the gold locket frame.
Portrait for a loved grandma who was in a Hospice
I was asked to carve a portrait for an elderly mother and grandmother who was in a hospice. She was battling cancer and I had to complete the cameo pendant quickly. Her son sent me a photo, from 1936 of her as a young woman to use for the portrait. I carved the cameo into a white and red layered agate and we set it in gold.
I created a photo-book to go with the cameo. I asked for photos of her taken throughout her life, to create a section which showed her ‘life stages’. She was delighted with the cameo pendant and the photo-book.
Two Portrait cameos for a US Marine serving in Iraq
A few years ago I created two cameo Jewels for a United States marine who was serving in Iraq. The first cameo had portraits of his three children, while the second cameo was a portrait of his wife. I was contacted while he was in Iraq, which meant that sharing photos via email had to be done with the co-operation of the military security service, which was interesting !
I delivered the completed cameos to the Marine and his wife while they had leave at a US Army base in the UK.
Your Family Deserves the Very Best for Their ‘Gift of a Lifetime’.
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