The latest proposal from a 200 year old cameo-making dynasty
In the aftermath of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, Italian jewellery designer Amedeo Scognamiglio has created a special collection of handmade cameos exclusively for the Dover Street Market. The collection, comprised of three rings and three pendants, features the silhouette of a woman’s face embedded in black lava set on a black onyx base, her crown embellished with black diamonds.
I believe monarchies are very important institutions for the people of many countries as a symbol of unity and heritage. I am a personal fan of Queen Elizabeth II for her elegance and discreet style, an endless testimony to her disciplined devotion to her a country
The latest offering from this cameo-making dynasty, Amedeo’s forefathers have been devoted to the ancient craft for the last 200 years, operating out of humble, dusty workshops in the small Italian village of Torre del Greco at the foot of Mount Vesuvius for six generations. Through a combination of these inherited classical carving techniques and a contemporary interpretation of cameo design, his collections are an ideal hybrid of modernity and traditionalism; creating cuffs in bright leathers, portraying the tragic Greek heroine Medusa, skulls, horses, cats and anything else he fancies.
Dazed Digital: What are some of your earliest memories of your family’s cameo making?
Amedeo Scognamilio: Our family house sits above the factory, so our private life was always completely intertwined with our cameo life! My fondest memory is of me sitting at the kitchen table after school helping my mom sketch cameo silhouettes on rough seashells, which would then be given to carvers to be made. At the same time my dad would be roaming around us, making comments on each design, and "directing" the process. Those moments define my love and passion for an ancient art my family has kept alive through centuries.
DD: Why did you create these pieces for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee?
Amedeo Scognamilio: Cameos have been "royal jewels" from the times of the Roman emperors, Lorenzo de Medici, and Queen Victoria. I feel we are part of the same heritage and safe keepers of the good old things. I believe monarchies are very important institutions for the people of many countries as a symbol of unity and heritage. I am a personal fan of Queen Elizabeth II for her elegance and discreet style, an endless testimony to her disciplined devotion to her a country.
DD: In addition to being fashion accessories, do you consider cameos to be a form of art?
Amedeo Scognamilio: They are definitely a form of art. The word 'cameo' itself defines not just the object, but also the process and the category. I consider "art" any artisanal expression of passion, and cameos are still entirely handmade in one Italian village by a small number of artisans who inherited their skills by their own fathers. Coincidentally, the imagery of cameos happens to be a trend right now – and we enjoy and appreciate the attention – but when these trends cease and change, we will still be there cameo carving away! This, to me, is art.
Text Stephanie Malik