The word “cameo” refers to a carving method featuring a relief image that contrasts in color from its background. Traditionally, cameos are carved from a single material, usually shell or stone. Ancient cameos were made from precious gemstones, but shell cameos have been popular since the Victorian era, and are the most commonly sold today.
A cameo can have any scene or subject, but the most popular motif is the profile of a woman. Ancient cameo carvings came from Greece and Rome. In the modern era, Italy has prevailed as the cameo cutting epicenter of the world.
Jewel of Havana’s current line of cameos come predominantly from Italy, and were carved in the early 1900’s. Artist Ana Maria Andricain blends the old with the new, pairing vintage cameos with modern settings in rings, and pendants. Jewel of Havana has cameos in mother of pearl, and conch, both of which, are characterized by their subtle contrasts in colors, and which make a beautiful compliment to their fine silver settings.
New pieces featuring modern, blue agate cameos, carved with lasers by a German artist, are so stunning that the majority have been bought before they could even be photographed.
Cameos are very delicate, and they require special care. They should be cleaned regularly, as dust can collect in ridges and scratch the surface. Never use soap or jewelry cleaner on cameos. After dusting they can be rinsed in plain warm water and dried with a soft cloth. Oil your cameos with mineral oil once a year and they will stay beautiful for decades. You will enjoy them and want to pass them on.
Turquoise is a stone that continues to find its way to the height of fashion. In ancient times it was considered a holy stone: worn as a talisman, and for protection. It decorated royalty, and was commonly used in grave furnishings. The Aztecs used it to decorate ceremonial masks, and the Native American Indians, believing the blue gemstone cosmically connects the sky and sea, still produce a steady quantity of turquoise and silver jewelry today.
Turquoise is a copper aluminum phosphate, and is found in the largest quantities in Mexico, Israel, the USA, China, Iran and Afghanistan. Distinguished by it’s heavenly blue hues (created by copper) and brown or black veins, each sample of turquoise is unique, making it a splendid choice for creating one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry.
Jewel of Havana carries a full line of hand-crafted turquoise jewelry, including turquoise earrings, turquoise layering necklaces, and the very popular turquoise wrap rings in fine silver.
In many ancient cultures, turquoise was considered a symbol of wealth, and if it’s given by a loving friend, it is said to bring good fortune to the wearer. It is the birthstone for the month of December but the beauty and uniqueness of turquoise is enough to warrant a piece -- or a few -- in anyone’s collection.
Turquoise is relatively soft, and should be protected from cosmetics, harsh light, and heat. It should be cleaned regularly with a soft cloth. The distinctive mottling in each turquoise stone ensures that any piece of turquoise jewelry will have a character all its own. You can no doubt find one that harmonizes with your own individuality.
Ana Maria Andricain
Ana is a metal clay certified artist creating handcrafted nature inspired artisan jewelry from her Baton Rouge studio. If you love natural gemstones and metal, welcome home!