The Story Behind The Cameo

For those of you that appreciate old antique and vintage things have you ever held a coin, checked out the date and said wow this coin is XX years old? Your mind will drift to how many hands it's passed through during it's decades and what it's been used to purchase necessities, frivolous items etc.

My mind wanders in a similar way when I hold a piece of antique jewelry, particularly cameos. I wonder if it was a commissioned piece. Was a gift for a special occasion? How many hands generations, family members has it been passed down too. Cameos aren't just your classic profile- Although trust me I have many wonderful examples of beautiful lady profiles in my collection. One that is even a special commissioned portrait!

What's interesting, to me, is that During the Victorian era a Gentlemen may commission a floral bouquet to be carved with the different flowers holding special hidden and un-spoken meanings. This hand crafted gift could be an engagement, wedding or anniversary gift. Floral cameos are so special as they really can be like a private love letter.

Mythological cameos were worn to honor specific Gods and Goddesses...in modern times they often have the same sentiment. A client of mine is a true wine connoisseur that covets their personal collection on Bacchus (god of wine) and Bacchante maidens (followers of Bacchus). I personally love the Goddess Hera as she symbolizes marriage and protection of Children. Many customers, Including myself, love Angel and Cherub cameos as it is often felt they bring protection from the Heavens above. Cameos of a Religious theme often give a sense of peace, serenity, faith and hope.

When I hold the pieces in my collection I am curious did a woman living over a century ago feel the same when viewing this piece? Part of the attraction for me and many of the collectors I know, is considering all the possibilities for which a particular piece was worn, gifted or passed down. Mourning gems were "all the rage" prior to the turn of the century when you honored the loss of someone by adorning jewelry from Jet, Gutta Percha, carved cameos or even lockets that held meaning either by the subject or by the carving depicted. More than often with a photo or hair memento preserved for decades... centuries later behind tiny glass or plastic protectors.

These heirlooms are precious and I love when a collector, someone who truly appreciates the possible memory and thoughts that may be behind a particular piece, becomes the new caretaker. They might share a personal story of why the piece "drew them in" or spoke to them in some way. In having my shop I feel like I've helped or mediate in someway so that the item is where it should be for it's next years to come~ It's an honor to be involved.

Next time you hold one of the treasures in your collection or when you are acquiring a new item take a moment to cherish the piece and reflect on the wonderful meaning of why you are choosing it today or if giving a gift choose one that really speaks to you for the recipient. I really feel these special antique and vintage treasures find there way to be with whom they are meant too, adding comfort and joy to their days while they own them.

My mind wanders in a similar way when I hold a piece of antique jewelry, particularly cameos. I wonder if it was a commissioned piece. Was a gift for a special occasion? How many hands, generations, family members has it been passed down too. Cameos aren't just your classic profile- Although trust me I have many wonderful examples of beautiful lady profiles in my collection. One that is even a special commissioned portrait!

What's interesting, to me, is that During the Victorian era a Gentlemen may commission a floral bouquet to be carved with the different flowers holding special hidden and un-spoken meanings. This hand crafted gift could be an engagement, wedding or anniversary gift. Floral cameos are so special as they really can be like a private love letter.

Mythological cameos were worn to honor specific Gods and Goddesses, in modern times they often have the same sentiment. A client of mine is a true wine connoisseur that covets their personal collection on Bacchus (god of wine) and Bacchante maidens (followers of Bacchus). I personally love the Goddess Hera as she symbolizes marriage and protection of Children. Many customers, Including myself, love Angel and Cherub cameos as it is often felt they bring protection from the Heavens above. Cameos of a Religious theme often give a sense of peace, serenity, faith and hope.

When I hold the pieces in my collection I am curious did a woman living over a century ago feel the same when viewing this piece? Part of the attraction for me and many of the collectors I know, is considering all the possibilities for which a particular piece was worn, gifted or passed down. Mourning gems were "all the rage" prior to the turn of the century when you honored the loss of someone by adorning jewelry from Jet, Gutta Percha, carved cameos or even lockets that held meaning either by the subject or by the carving depicted. More than often with a photo or hair memento preserved for decades, centuries later behind tiny glass or plastic protectors.

These heirlooms are precious and I love when a collector, someone who truly appreciates the possible memory and thoughts that may be behind a particular piece, becomes the new caretaker. They might share a personal story of why the piece "drew them in" or spoke to them in some way. In having my shop I feel like I've helped or mediate in someway so that the item is where it should be for it's next years to come. It's an honor to be involved.

Next time you hold one of the treasures in your collection or when you are acquiring a new item take a moment to cherish the piece and reflect on the wonderful meaning of why you are choosing it today or if giving a gift choose one that really speaks to you for the recipient. I really feel these special antique and vintage treasures find there way to be with whom they are meant too adding comfort and joy to their days while they own them.

My name is : Joy Korzenko

Shop name is : Joy's Tiny Treasures

Byline for article:

Joy's Tiny Treasures on Ruby Lane is run by Joy Korzenko and has just Re-located from Long Island, New York to Fort Mill, South Carolina. Specializing in Antique Cameos & Portrait miniatures I strive to offer Top-Notch customer service and a Fresh selection that is ever changing.

I pride myself on keeping inventory that suites all Collector's taste's and budgets too~ Something for everyone! Layaways are encouraged, so please do come browse~ Open 24-7 for your shopping convenience.