Cameo, also cameo, cameo or cameo, is the name for one as a raised relief of a jewelry stone, lava rock or a mollusc shells produced engraving, which stands out of the material of the raised part usually brighter from the deeper part of the engraving due to different tints ( color shifts).
In contrast to the cameo motif will cut deeper into the stone at an intaglio or a gem. Cameos were compared to gems often representative character. They were especially valued precious stones, which were poorly accounted for in finger rings, but have been used in many other jewelry ( earrings, tiaras, neck and chest chains, etc. ) Similarly, box fittings and decoration of living spaces you could use them, especially those that with the image of the Gorgon Medusa disaster and the "evil eye " to fend.
Cameos have been known since the 4th century BC. They experienced both the Renaissance and the 17th and 18th century heyday. The fabrication technique of cameos dates from the Ptolemaic Alexandria (see: Tazza Farnese). They conquered from there the Hellenistic and later the Roman world, but never recaptured the spread and popularity of gems.
For the origin of the term, there are different traditions, such as from the Persian chumahäu, in medieval Latin we find the vocabulary camahatus. In Italian, chama, the shell, derived from the Muschelcaméen.
In the German-speaking area are used since the 14th century various derivations: GAMAH, gammaho, gämahü, gamähinstein, gamaphe, Camache, camaie, camme, cammée.
Italian Cameo, mid-16th century, Cabinet des Médailles