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Fancy stealing the Queen Anne look for your special day? Vintage specialist Caroline Henney of Oxford's Bag the Jewels talks to us about the big-day possibilities of cameo jewellery.
A cameo jewel is a labour of love, delicately hand-carved on either a shell or a layered hard-stone such as sardonyx, coral, turquoise or lava. The raised relief gives a contrasting effect to create an exquisite picture portrait which can then be incorporated into a piece of jewellery. Each cameo is a miniature work of art and beauty, and the history and romance of such a jewel makes it perfect for use at a wedding, and the wider appeal of the cameo as a design also lends itself to a total theme for the day too.
Dating back to the third century BC, ancient Greeks and Romans produced cameos not only in natural materials but also in glass; their earliest designs depicted their gods and goddesses. These deities remained a popular choice throughout history depicting the romantic and valued sentiments of heroism, strength and beauty. In the ages before photography a carved cameo of a lover gave a portable image to treasure whilst that of a monarch provided a perfect reward for a loyal subject.
Many royals gifted those in favour valuable cameos. There is a wonderful portrait cameo brooch in London's Victoria and Albert Museum which is over 300 years old depicting Queen Anne herself, the subject of the recent Oscar and Bafta winning movie The Favourite. During the grand tour era, when people visited other lands as part of their education, a carved cameo would often be the souvenir of choice. The piece was brought home to then be mounted into real gold or silver to create wearable jewellery.
The best cameos are often from Italy where the art is still practised today, predominantly using seashells such as the conch. You can find cameo jewellery to suit your budget from precious gold mounted items to costume jewellery versions in humble plastic. Cameo rings are also perfect for engagements and betrothals. There are also earrings, necklaces, bracelets and the versatile brooch, a splendid jewel for weddings that can be worn by anyone in the bridal party and can simply be pinned on a garment, be part of the hair accessory or used to adorn sashes, bags, bouquets or even the ribbons that decorate the cake.
To embrace the cameo as a theme you could consider using Wedgwood Jasperware as part of your table decor. This iconic British ceramic ware consists of unglazed pottery usually in blue, green or black but occasionally in pink, violet or yellow, which has white cut-out designs applied to it. Cherubs, Venus, Cupid and Psyche often feature as do flowers, leaves and grapevines. It has been a popular style since introduced in the late 1700s.
You could have your wedding cake, or favours such as biscuits, iced with cameo designs or could use a silhouette cameo on your wedding stationery. There are even artists that will cut life-like portrait silhouettes to entertain your guests at the wedding breakfast.
To find out more about vintage wedding jewellery, contact Caroline Henney at Bag the Jewels, and for more big-day jewellery pieces, check out the special feature in the April/May 2019 issue of Your Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wedding - on sale now.
Unlike a national magazine, Your Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wedding is packed with area specific features, venues in your area, inspirational real weddings and regular features on bridal fashion, beauty, photography, cars, stationery, flowers, cakes, music, entertainment, catering, hair & beauty, etc.
So when you decide to look for local suppliers, wedding retailers and service providers, our magazines can really help you plan your wedding.
We also have regular exciting competitions and giveaways, expert question & answer pages and lots more. Quite simply, all the information you will ever need to get married in your area.
We have 19 wedding titles covering counties and regions throughout most of England and Wales.
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