Cameo Role

June 09, 2010, 08:00 am  Posted by Lark Jewelry & Beading

While pairing images for the upcoming book 500 Silver Jewelry Designs, these two pieces captured my attention. Though they are not cameos, their silhouettes suggest a similar spirit.

Hyo Jin Kim, Woman with a Necklace, 2008

Hyo Jin Kim, Woman with a Necklace (detail), 2008

Ewa Skoczynska, Heading Into Town, 2007

What is it about the cameo or cameo-inspired work that sets it apart from other figurative jewelry? Is it the history and connotations of the form? Is it that we connect to cameos in an unusually emotional way?

Other jewelers, such as Kristin Beeler, Melanie Bilenker, Jessica Calderwood, Untamed Menagerie, and Simone Walsh create similarly affecting works.

Kristin Beeler, Glance, 2007

Jessica Calderwood, Consumption, 2007

Melanie Bilenker, Tucking, 2009

Untamed Menagerie, A Lady Ought

Simone Walsh

I was surprised by the very idealistic and romantic terms I chose to describe these pieces.

Adoration • Affection • Devotion Delicate • Ghostly • Enduring Fragile • Loving • Mystical Sacred • Sentimental • Tender

Your feelings about jewelry, all jewelry, are beautifully unique.  Looking at these “cameos,” what words feel right for you?


18 Responses

    I adore cameos! I'm loving that Untamed menagerie, A Lady Ought necklace! So crazy and inspiring! I'm loving the ballerina coming off the back.

    I also gravitate towards cameos. They oven inspire words like “tender”, “old”, and “classic” for me. It makes me feel like I'm wearing a piece of history and a part of someone. Vintage ones from old jewelry were often cast in someone's face correct? So cool and a little creepy maybe? :)

    marthelark says:

    Hi Elizabeth,

    Glad you enjoyed the post. Cameos are carved in stone. It's an ancient (like B.C. ancient – think Roman signet rings) art form that is rarely practiced, but there are still a few incredibly talented carvers working today.

    You can learn more about traditional cameos here:

    sy says:

    i want to wear them and go on a trip right now

    Wendy says:

    The cameos seem like frozen moments in time. An instant caught forever in precious craft, and most often precious materials. As an aside, I need to say how important the 500 series is for artists and for the consumers of our work. Each new title is a huge exhibition one can attend an visit a thousand times. Every time I open the ones I own I see something new, and they inspire my students. I believe the 500 series will become an invaluable record of the visual voices in each aspect of craft the portray. The books inspire me to work harder.

    Sandy Lewis says:

    I love cameos. I also love Untamed Menagerie, Consumption and Tucking! Thank you for opening my mind… again.

    berrynaut says:

    I would say these pieces are 'Delicately Poised'. It's like the ladies are holding all of their thoughts and worries inside and giving a poised and composed front for the outside world….

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