Cameo Guide

Cameos are three-dimensional carvings in stone, shell, coral or lava. It is the detail and rarity of materials that have made it a sought after item by collectors. Only a master carver has the experience and know-how to carve a cameo in its entirety by hand.

Pink Cornelian Shell Cameo is the most common shell used for cameo carvings as this type of shell grows much more rapidly and is harvested on a regular basis. Most cornelian shells are found off West Africa. Cornelian shells range in color from reddish-brown to peach, to orange. They have less white coloring between the layers, meaning that the profile or object being carved will not be a pure white like on Sardonyx shells.

Sardonyx Shell Cameo is the most rare and valuable of cameos. They grow at a very slow rate, and therefore are not harvested in abundance. A limited number of sardonyx shell cameos are produced every year. Sardonyx shells are desirable due to their color pigmentation. It has a pure white mid layer and a beautiful deep red to chocolate brown interior. These provide each cameo with striking color contrast, adding to its elegance.

Agate is a popular gemstone for carving cameos because of its durability. It comes in different colors like blue, green and red. Modern day agate cameos are primarily carved in Germany using an ultrasonic machine. Details and featured are then more defined.

Kathy and Kathy Bespoke uses only ethically and legally sourced Cornelian and Sardonyx shells in the creation of our Fine Jewelry.