Historians believe that cameos first appeared in Greece and Rome, very likely as some sort of magical charm to afford protection. In part this belief has to do with the popular base material – agate, which was often carried as an amulet. Shell cameos appeared on the scene much later, but were also more easily carved. By this time Italy had become the center of hand made cameos, and it remains a very important region for keeping this historical art alive because they use the ancient techniques.
A PAIR OF ANTIQUE MICRO-MOSAIC EARRINGS Each of vase shape, set with a polychrome micro-mosaic decor of flowers and a central bird perched on a twig, supporting three similarly-set drops to a circular surmount, circa 1870