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A cameo is an image or design that has been hand carved/sculpted in relief. Typically made from the corniola shell, these designs may be from photos or inspired by art, nature or the imagination of the artist. Due to the relatively soft and uneven surface of the shell, it must be sculpted by hand.
After a design is chosen and work begins on this miniature and intricate work of art, patience and an eye for precise detail is required.. By its very nature of being sculpted by hand from a unique shell, every piece is exclusive and unique.
Using the same techniques as the Romans, the shell is held by wax on a hand tool and the white layer of the shell is removed to expose the chestnut brown. Once finished the wax is melted away. The finished piece is set in gold or sterling silver.
Other materials lending themselves to carving cameo pieces are red coral and turquoise as well as agate and lava stone which are harder and can be carved partially by hand and by machine.
When in Venice you are sure to visit the iconic and crowded Rialto Bridge. Browsing the shop windows, one that will certainly catch your eye will have an exquisite display of cameos and jewelry…
“Tradition is everything for us.”
– Marco Jovon
Step inside and you will be greeted by brothers Marco and Alessio who have managed the store and carried on the family tradition since the death of their father in 1988. For three generations, over 80 years, Eredi Jovon (the Jovon heirs) has honored a legacy of craftsmanship and professionalism established by their grandfather in 1934.
Although Venice is flooded with cheap souvenirs and imitations, seeking out and supporting artisans committed to their craft is important. The Jovons, who remain dedicated to providing superior quality and workmanship, are examples of this commitment.