Cameo jewelry is highly valued and attractive. There is a lot of reproduced or costume jewelry that aims to emulate the look and feel of cameo jewelry. There are many copycats that come quite close to real cameo, but there are some key ways to tell the difference. Discover how to identify real cameo jewelry here.
Check For Transparency
Shell cameo jewelry should be pink and white in color. To start your journey of discovering the truth behind the piece, hold the jewelry up against a light source and look at the backside. A true cameo piece that’s made from shell should show a silhouette of the design.
Fake cameo jewelry may not show any part of the design. There are some fakes that have such thin plastic that they may show a basic outline, but this isn’t an indicator of a real cameo piece. Transparency doesn’t equal authenticity; it simply helps the process of identification.
Explore the Cracks
Use a magnifying glass or take a high-quality photo of the piece so you can inspect it in closer detail. While looking through the magnifying glass or zooming into the photograph, look closely for cracks in the surface and other imperfections.
If the piece is made out of shell and is authentic, there will be a presence of minor cracks, or crazing, on the surface. This will be easier to spot if you shine a light on the piece while inspecting it.
There may also be fine markings or bits of evidence that the piece was made using a carving tool. Plastic cameo jewelry will be much more uniform and will have very little variance, as these items are more likely to be mass-produced or machine-made.
Search the Internet
Scour the internet for the same cameo piece that you have. If you’re able to easily find the exact item that you possess, chances are it’s made of plastic. Real shell cameo pieces have much more variety than plastic pieces because they are hand-carved.
Look up images of real and fake cameo pieces to help familiarize yourself with the subtle differences in appearances.
Real shell cameos should have a slight curve to them, they will not be completely flat. Remember that real cameos are not only made of shell. There are also cameos made from coral, volcanic cameos, and those made from onyx and other stones, usually referred to as hardstone cameos.
There are many sources to help you learn how to identify real cameo jewelry, but the best source is a trusted jeweler. Find a trusted vintage fine jewelry dealer to help you decipher between real and fake cameo and explore our collection of real cameo jewelry at Solvang Antiques.