Most people think of cameos as formal and sentimental; something sweet and Victorian, pinned to a high-collar lace shirt or carved with a dowager portrait. But today's cameos are anything but sweet and sentimental.
Traditionally carved from shells or stones, cameos have been in the jewelry lexicon for centuries. In the 21st century, they are playful, colorful, with sly bold images, making for an intriguing high-fashion mix of old and new.
"Reinvention, rebirth, unexpected, traditionally punk," is how Amedeo Scognamiglio, a fifth generation southern Italian cameo maker, describes this new world of cameo modern. Here's how some of today's jewelry designers mix traditional antique cameo making with their own modern stamp:
Olivia Collings Antique Jewelry Known for her fresh, modern-trending antique jewelry, Olivia Collings cameo statement ring has a stone agate cameo surrounded by old-cut diamonds. The Grecian goddess-style portrait is set in 18 karat rose gold and was originally made in 1850. The carving was probably crafted in Italy and then mounted in England. $8,775. Available online.
Tom Binns New York jewelry designer Tom Binns uses whimsy, bold color, punk sensibilities and humor in his jewelry. These neon-colored drop earrings are from his Cameo Samba Collection, and feature a mauve woman, made from rhodium, crystal, and brass. $255. Available online.
Lydia Courteille Celebrated Paris jewelry designer Lydia Courteille's diamond, ruby and green garnet cocktail ring brings her vibrantly imaginative designs to cameo. Price upon request. Available online.
Bochic Miriam Salat and David Aaron Joseph are the designers behind the brand . Their leather cuff sports a carved mammoth portrait cameo, surrounded with approximately 5.5 carats of diamonds. $20,250. Bochic is carried by Wilkes Bashford, Palo Alto, (650) 322-7080.
Julie Wolfe A Laguna Beach transplant, artist and jewelry designer Julie Wolfe creates found pieces in her Washington, D.C. studio. Her bold gothic Victorian black cross is fabricated and oxidize sterling silver and holds a vintage cameo surrounded by four found opals. It hangs as a one-of-a-kind pendant. $1,590. Available online.
Silvia Furmanovich Brazilian jewelry designer Silvia Furmanovich used mammoth ivory with a cornelian shell cameo, diamonds and 18 karat gold to create these one-of-a-kind drop earrings. Price upon Request. The line is available stateside at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City. (212) 872-2578.
Amedeo: A fifth generation cameo maker from southern Italy, Amedeo Scognamiglio carved this playful chunky statement ring from sardonyx shell to depict an elephant with a diamond crown. $3,500. Available online.
Wilfredo Rosado Mentored by Giorgio Armani, Wilfredo Rosado lifts sly street-style to au couture fine jewelry. His hand-carved floral cameo knuckle ring is set in 18k white gold surrounded with white diamonds. $15,400. Rosado is stocked at Just One Eye in Los Angeles and online.