How can you define the quality of a cameo?

Three little tricks to become an expert

After the joke that my son played on you telling about the old story (100% true, I can assure you) between his father and himself, today I would like to respond directly to the question that many customers are posing us, both on the internet and in our Venice Jewelry store, namely:

how can I understand the quality of a cameo? How can I give  value to the cameo ring my grandpa gave to my grandmother during their travel in Italy 40 years ago?

Let's focus on shell cameo jewelry

So today we are going to answer the question: How can you give a value to a cameo? – and we will explain at the same time, sketchily, how it is worked on.


The three tricks to judge the beauty and value of cameos

In my humble opinion, I would like to dwell on the three points that I find crucial to determine whether a cameo brooch (but we could say ring or earrings a s well) is actually beautiful or just dead ugly.

Regoular Quality

  •  Transparency

Looking at the cameo from the back, holding it towards the light, the carved figure should be clearly outlined: often, in plastic cameos, this transparency does not exist - although unfortunately, I have to admit it, the counterfeiters have become very good at this too...

I saw some plastic cameos with purposely-defined defects; the only problem was that they presented them on every single carved cameo and all in the same place, because they were replicas created by a machine, including the faults.

Very Good Quality Cameos

  •  Thickness

The more you move the cameo away from you, the more the engraved figure has to stand out: it must give you the impression of getting out of the horizontal plane.

This feature is very important in my opinion, but you have to train your eye, because it is perhaps the most difficult to thing to spot. The three-dimensionality is synonymous with great artistic and stylistic competence.

Extra top Quality Cameos and Antiques


  •  Engraving

There are several levels of engraving, with the sign of various bulin (the instrument used to engrave) measures, defining the detail of the work.

What I'm thinking about? Well, see same samples of Mother and child cameo we have in our website.

 Be Careful!

I did not say that the more a cameo is engraved, the better it is!

This is because, and you must remember it, every detail must be meaningful and not an end to itself: a cameo must first be beautiful and skillfully carved. Having lots of details, without meaning, is simply useless!



Is the setting of a cameo crucial or merely important?

Do you think I forgot about the framing?

No, I did not.

I overlooked it specifically, because the article is about, and wants to explain, how a picture is evaluated, not how one evaluates its frame.

For the various types of frames we use and the different type of metals, please refer to an article by Alessio on the different gold types.

For the time being I am going to say this to you: it is better to have a nice cameo with an ugly frame rather than a bad cameo with a beautiful frame ... and you know why?

Because you can always change the frame, but you cannot change the picture!

Do you have a grandma's cameo in your house?

Try to look at it now with the three tricks I've just taught you and it will surely appear in a new light.

I am leaving you with our greeting, which has now become our business card.

And to find out more about it download our E-book in wich you can find the formula "to give value to the cameos"

The biggest hug in the world

Gabriella Bruschi Jovon


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