Characteristics of Cameos
Cameo’s are obtained from the engraving and cutting work of gems (amehyst, topaz, emerald, ruby and even diamonds), semi-precious stone (agate, turquoise, malachite, lapis-lazuli)and from the begining of the 17th century on shells.
Three kind of shells can be distinguished for the kind of work for cameos: the “Sardonic”, that generally comes from the Carribean or the Bahamas, with it’s dark brown surface, which makes the engraving neater; the “Cornel” that tend towards red and is prevalently of african origin and finally the “pink Antilles arch shell” the least used because the uncertain colour doesn’t give sufficient relief to the figure.
These kind of shells have two different colours of layers: the first layer is white for all of them and the lower one is red for the cornel and dark brown for the sardonic.
It is nice to remember that cameos have a very ancient story and so rapresents a classic in the entire wide world of jewellery, and so Torre del Greco is the only place in the world where it is engraved on shells.