Commesso Cameos - 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 jewels are very rare and most are displayed in Museums or held in private collections.
Commessi is an Italian term that was applied to mosiacs, assembled stones forming a larger design. An Italian jeweler called Matteo da Nassaro may have invented the Commesso cameo. Matteo was appointed 'graveur general' to the French King Henry II, in 1547. He founded the first centre in France for cutting precious stones and he introduced cameo jewels to the French court.
I have added jewels by the Art nouveau artist, Henri Vever, Rene Lalique and Luis Roses. Technically they do not reach the heights of the Renaissance jewelers. Artistically they show superb use of the commessi technique.