Gemstone Cameos compared to Cameos in Shell

Cameos can be carved into Shell or Gemstone. Gemstone cameos are harder, last for thousands of years and are considered superior to shell. Almost all Museum cameos are carved into gemstone.

Shell is much softer than stone and is far less durable. The carving process is faster with shell and different tools are used. There are some shell carvers who sell their work for very low prices.

If you are offered a portrait cameo for only a few hundred dollars, realize that the carver must rush their work, and cut corners to make that cheap price. The likeness will be poor and the finish quality inferior.

I was recently asked to replace a portrait cameo in shell, carved in Italy at a very cheap price. The customer was very unhappy with the result and lost his money. Why take a risk that you can, get away, with the cheapest option. Your ‘loved-one’ deserves the very best.

How do you create your Gemstone Cameo Portraits

I remove all of the stone that is not ‘the portrait’ to reveal the face and personality of the subject. I work until the portrait springs to life. Then I stop – overworking a carving is a common mistake made by beginners.

I carve every cameo entirely by hand. I use specially made steel points charged with Diamond dust. I make many of my special tools as they are not commercially available. The carving is smoothed and polished with wooden points charged with fine diamond dust.

Do You Deliver Worldwide ?

My customers come from all over the world. Most of my work goes to the United States, the Middle East, Europe, Hong Kong, Australia, and New Zealand.

I can probably deliver to your country, wherever you are. I now accept cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, litecoin etc. This can make sending funds easier and cheaper for many countries.

I will provide a quote for delivery and Customs may charge duty and tax when you import your portrait cameo jewel.

I now accept cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Dash, Monero, Z Cash, Ripple, and many others. This can make sending funds easier and cheaper for many countries. Especially where the local banking system is expensive.

I do not want my cameo story shared online

No problem at all. Many of my cameo portrait jewels are not displayed on my website. I only show cameos with the approval of their owners.

A sympathy cameo that marks the passing of a ‘loved one’ is a very personal gift. The cameo may mark a very painful loss. My policy is to not show these gifts online. However, sometimes the owner asks me to share their cameo and their story.  I show some of these on my site but I do not show full names to protect privacy.

Please share my story

I am happy to show your cameo online if you request me to. I will also share the story behind your cameo jewel. I am always so thankful when I am asked to share photos, reviews, and feedback from a customer.

How to care for your Cameo

Your Cameo has been carved from a tough and durable gemstone. With normal use and care your Cameo should last many years and could well become an heirloom that is passed through the generations.

Your Cameo is set in a frame that protects the sides and edges of the stone from damage. Please be aware that any stone can break, or chip, if dropped onto a hard surface, or hit with a hard object.

For this reason, I recommend that the Cameo is insured as soon as possible, as I cannot cover this sort of damage.

How do I clean my Cameo Jewel ?

Your Cameo can be cleaned at any time. The easiest method is to immerse the Cameo in a warm solution of detergent and water. Soak the stone for a while and then clean with a soft toothbrush, to remove any ingrained dirt.

The special satin finish on the cameo stone can be restored by gently rubbing the surface with a clean ink eraser. Finish by rinsing the piece in warm water and gently pat dry with a paper towel.

I advise you to take the Cameo to a professional Jeweler every few years. They will check the piece for any wear that may need attention and they will be able to clean the piece professionally for you.

Cameo stones cannot take the heat of a soldering torch, but they are safe in the Ultrasonic cleaner and can be cleaned with a steam cleaner.

What is Your Guarantee ?

]If you feel that the Cameo is not a good likeness in the first 7 days of receipt then you may return the cameo for recarving, a full credit or a 50% refund. Please contact me first before sending as we will pay your shipping costs.

I cannot accept a cancellation before I have delivered the finished cameo. Photographs do not adequately show the full detail of a carving and a portrait cameo really must be viewed ‘in person’ to fully judge the quality and likeness.  If I am asked to change the expression of a person, say from open mouth to closed lips or from sad to happy then I must be given additional photos that show the person with this look. These photos will give me the chance to accurately portray the altered expression. I can offer this guarantee as I stand by the quality of my work.

Portrait Cameos are unique pieces of art. I do make every effort to ensure that a portrait cameo is a great likeness of the subject. Please check the Photographs of the finished cameo carefully before sending final payment. If I am asked to carve two or more cameos of the same photograph, I cannot guarantee that they will be identical. I do not create these portraits with a machine. They are all hand carved, so duplicate portraits will be very similar but not exact copies of each other.

If your order is delivered damaged, it is your responsibility to contact the shipper. Important: save all packing materials. Failure to do so can cause the shipper to deny your claim.

After the initial 7 day period, the following guarantee applies.

A Cameo should not break with normal usage. However, the gemstone itself is not guaranteed against loss or damage. I suggest ensuring the piece for its full replacement value. I would be happy to replace a missing or broken cameo stone. This would, however, be charged as a new order.

In the event of a failure of the metal setting, that has not been caused by damage from an external force I will carry out any repairs free of charge. If any metal parts have been damaged due to being hit or dropped then I would have to charge for any repair.

Please contact me in advance of sending the piece to me. I will verify the cause of the failure and if satisfied the piece will delivered free of charge.

Do you protect my Privacy ?

I take your privacy seriously and that is why I will never share any confidential information that you give me, including your e.mail address or phone number with anyone outside of Portrait Cameos for any reason.

Orders for famous people may well need an enhanced degree of confidentiality. I am often asked to sign non disclosure agreements for these situations.


Your Family Deserves the Very Best for Their ‘Gift of a Lifetime’.

Ready to get a portrait jewel for your ‘loved-one’ ? Upload your photos and share your story.