Miller) Wedgwood pieces were also mounted in furniture; Thomas Jefferson had his dining room fireplace mantel inset with Wedgwood cameo plaques.
Wedgwood was so esteemed by royalty and collectors, they allowed him to take molds of their personal cameos. Queen Victoria, who wore all kinds of jewelry, especially favored cameos.
While these materials made cameos more assessable, they still remained unaffordable to the majority.
Those left behind in the cameo pursuit were thrilled when 18th century glass maker John Tassie offered them less expensive glass imitations. Catherine the Great ordered all of his models made for her in triplicate.
Catherine the Great had a notable collection, Queen Elizabeth I wore them.
They’re becoming popular again today, and, of course, that means a rise in prices — and fakes!
I recently discovered I have something in common with Napoleon … Used to decorate helmets, military sword handles, and breast plates, it also adorned vases and dishes … Napoleon was so taken by the beauty of cameos that he not only wore and collected them, he also started a school in Paris to train young carvers.
First appearing around the time of Alexander the Great, the cameo’s wave of popularity has continued all these centuries.
When Prince Albert died in 1861, Queen Victoria went into permanent mourning, and until she died forty years later, wore only black clothing and jewelry. Widows, often spending several years in mourning, followed the queen’s example by choosing mourning cameos.
The jet industry flourished, turning out enormous numbers of cameos carved from this fossilized form of coal.And since a cameo is carved from a single material, anything from agate and onyx to shells, that sounds about right.