How to Wear Cameos

How to Wear Cameos

Cameos will never go out of style. They’ve been in fashion over 2,000 years ago, when Greeks and Romans started the trend; they made a major comeback during the Victorian age, and, judging by their rising prices, at least, they’re still going strong today. I’ve found that most women don’t buy them because they just don’t know how to wear cameos, and are afraid they might make them look older or too serious.

When saying cameos, people think of brooches, but that’s not always the case. The word cameo refers to a method of carving – thus cameos are always engraved pieces of jewelry, which may be made of gemstones, shells, bone or coral. They have to include a relief image, in contrast with a background of a different color.

In deciding how to wear a cameo, you have to consider that this is usually a signature accessory, which defines the entire outfit, so it’s vital not to overdo it. One piece is generally enough, no need to add earrings, pendants and rings all at the same time.

Ancient Roman cameo. Well, perhaps not the thing you’d like to wear today, but still a beautiful piece of art. Image source here.

Cameo pendants are usually small in size, and rather inexpensive pieces. This, of course, depends on the materials and carving methods used, but you can find nice pieces with silver margins starting from just $20. This means you can wear them with a very relaxed outfit, even with jeans and a T-shirt. These are great pieces to start, if you like cameos, but you’re unsure how they’ll fit with your style.

Larger pieces usually go on chokers. That’s the traditional, Victorian way of wearing them, and great news for all those wearing goth or metal outfits and who don’t know how to wear cameos so as to accentuate their style. Chokers are a great way to show off a valuable piece, whether an antique one, that may be family inheritance, or one that’s carved in a true gemstone.

Modern cameo. Image source here.

I find brooches the hardest to accessorize, without looking like my grandmother. If you’re going for the business-chic look, you can wear them on a blazer, but other than that, the only use I found for my brooch is to keep together a deep cleavage of a black dress, when I’m wearing it for something formal or serious, such as a funeral. Anyhow, I prefer to wear it on a choker, as I said above.

A word of caution when deciding how to wear a cameo brooch: stay away from floral or heavily colored patterns, or better yet, stay away from all patterns, at least on the blouse. They are pretentious pieces of jewelry after all, it’s very easy to overdo it and end up looking like a Christmas tree.

Cameo rings are massively understated today. This was probably the original use back in ancient times, when cameos were used as seals or signature rings. A small one is a nice addition to an everyday outfit, a larger one may provide the centerpiece for discussion during cocktails or evenings out with girls (not to mention a subject of envy and admiration).

These are just a few suggestions on how to wear cameos. Don’t be afraid to experiment and take yours out to enjoy the sun and to be admired by your friends and co-workers, they’re true works of art and deserve our attention.

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One Comment
nimbleful, posted this comment on Dec 12th, 2010

Interesting! We have the Greeks and Romans a lot to thank for! I’m adding cameos to the list! : )

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