Hardness: Shell: 3.5-4 Agate: 6.5-7 Mohs
Enhancement Code: Natural
Shell Carving: White face on orange to brown background; facing left or right
Agate Carving: White face on black agate background; facing left or right
Care: Cameos are quite fragile; not for everyday wear. Care should be taken when wearing. Avoid exposure to heat, contact with chemicals, and protect from scratches and harsh blows. To clean, wipe gently with a moist cloth.
Major Sources: Tropic and sub-tropic zones
The tradition of carving images into precious materials dates back thousands of years and was first used for official portraits and seals. Use of shells for cameos began around the 15th. century and peaked in the Victorian era. With shell cameos, the white foreground image appears against a reddish-orange background, whereas in agate cameos, the image has a black background. With either, the timeless beauty of a hand-carved cameo is a truly classic fashion accessory.