A Cameo Appearance

A cameo is a form of glyptography, or bas-relief, carving, which historically features landscapes, portraits, and mythological figures cut into a variety of materials, but most often into glass, hardstones, and shells. With an ancient history, cameos are still popular today proving that this is a tradition which has been adored for centuries. 



As the Roman Empire grew, political figures were often incorporated within these depictions. Mainly popular in Egypt, Greece and Rome, they often depicted mythological themes while paying tribute to their respective gods and goddesses. As this transpired into Western culture, many elite figures began collecting and wearing these cameo items and it is even said that Pope Paull II’s love of cameos caused his death. His hands were so adorned with cameo rings that kept his hands so cold that he caught a chill that eventually caused his death. 



Lot 429 is a Victorian shell cameo brooch carved depicting the scene of Hebe, Greek goddess of youth and cupbearer to the Gods feeding the eagle of Zeus. This impressive example is estimated at £80 - £120. 


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Amy Cameron


McTear’s sells more jewellery than any other traditional auction house in the dedicated jewellery auctions that take place twice monthly, run concurrently live online on a platform that attracts six million visitors annually from over 120 countries worldwide.

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