The word Cameo literally means figure carved in low relief. Among the shells used in the work of the most valued Cameos are the "cassis madagascariensis" and "cassis rufa", respectively called sardonic and carnelian because they are of the same color of these stones.
The sardonic is from the Caribbean and the Bahamas, the carnelian is instead of African origin.
The shells are cut and carved by hand. Working on two layers of different colors you can represent anything you want.
Cameo can be achieved by any material. In fact, we have those in lava, bone, shell pink, pearl, coral, turquoise etc.
The scientific name is "Corallium rubrum". It can be red, orange, pink or white.
The red one is present throughout the Mediterranean from Sicily and Sardinia to Morocco and Tunisia.
The quality of the coral, in the various fishing areas, is the same. Size and color depths, however can vary.
The size of Mediterranean Coral , however, is smaller compared to Asian corals, so it is mainly used for necklaces, small incisions, cabochons etc.
As well as in the Mediterranean, coral is also fished in the Pacific, especially along the coasts of Japan and Midway to Hawaii.
The colors of the Asian corals range from white to dark red, and the dimensions are much larger than those of the Mediterranean, which make them more suitable for engraving.
Turquoise is a sky blue, blue to green mineral which sometimes presents dark spots of brown or black.
The turquoise stone has a vitreous lustre. Being a porous mineral, turquoise is inherently fragile and sensitive to solvents; perfume and other cosmetics will attack the finish and may alter its natural color tending to green, as will skin oils, as will most commercial jewelry cleaning fluids.
The processing of Turquoise creates a white powder , which is not in any way re-used, so when it comes to paste of turquoise, it is called a synthetic. The deposits of turquoise are often found along with those of copper. The areas of origin are Iran, Arizona in America, Afghanistan and Australia. Turquoise used in our work is of American origin.
The term “Mother of Pearl” (or Nacre) refers to the innermost layer, strongly iridescent shell of some molluscs and gastropods. The most widely used is the mother of pearl mollusks perliferi, thus the major producers are pearl growers . They are bivalve shells and the scientific name is "pinctada maxima" or "pinctada margheritifera". The first , white and very large, are grown in Australia, while the second come from the Indus Pacific and is a very pearly grayish green color with a blue or violet cast and margins go from brown to black.
The common dimensions are of 20 cm. Nacre has been uses since ancient times for ornaments, buttons, combs, jewelry, and inlay work. From the processing of nacre we can create: strands of necklaces, various shapes, flowers, animals, statues, and all that could be required by the customer, including restoration of furniture, ornaments and religious objects.
The correct name is Strombus Gigas, in English also known as Queen Conch, it's a monovalva shell that prefers the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea and the sandy shallows near the coral reef.
It is drawn more for food in Honduras, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
It can be white or off white but its internal state is bright pink, white or orange. The maximum length of this shell is 32cm and weights about maximum 3kgs, the most common type measures about 24cm .
It's a sea water clam pearl, the pearls are found only in very few cases, in fact, the pink pearls or, more properly known as conch pearls, are very rare and therefore expensive. You can obtain necklaces, various shapes such as flowers, animals, suns and moons, feathers, leaves, cameos and whatever the customer requests.
Amber is made of prehistoric fossilized resin. It's a mineral fossil, it may look clear and trasparent or turbid, in some rare cases it may be fluoresent. It's color can be yellow, orange, reddish brown, very rarely it can be fluorescent green, blue or purple.
You can recognize real amber from imitations by inserting it in a container full of a saturated solution of water and salt, the real amber floats, the imitation doesn't. A most famous Amber stones are the ones that come from the Baltic, the Dominican Republic and Mexico.
The rarest Amber is called “Simetite” and comes from Sicily.
The things you can obtain by working amber are: strands of necklaces, flowers, animal shapes, other various shapes of things, perfume bottles and whatever the customer requests.
The working process goes on with the use of other materials such as lava stone, bone, carnelian, the sardonic, conch apple tree, the Mississipi shell, ebony, lapis, the Aliotis, plastic resins and other colored stones.