Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Rainforest Design Cameos

For a while we recieved a magazine called Lapidary Journal, also now called Jewelry Artist. In the February 2009 issue there was an interesting article about cameos. I have always loved cameos, the look of them when i was young, and as i grew as an artist and realized how they were made and the history of them, my love for them grew as well. So this article captured our attention, as these cameos are special, VERY special!
Cameos from Panama. " These cameos carved by Panamanian artisans show the flora and fauna of the New World tropics...They are not the typical subjects of traditional cameo carving"
 The American Heritage Dictionary says that a cameo is " A technique of engraving in relief on a gem or other stone, especially with layers of different hues, cut so the raised design is one color and the background another."
"These particular cameos are not only from that place, they are of that place. For anyone who appreciates the intricacy, delicacy, and variety of tropical nature, these cameos are not only beautiful  and fascinating but downright cool. Carved by three native artists of the tiny Wounaan Indian Tribe-famous worldwide for the grace and elegance of thier tightly woven baskets- these carvers use native Panamanian shells of the Queen Helmet Conch. And with that material they depict remarkably detailed portraits of indigenous  flora and fauna, from frogs to turltes,birds to fish, and flowers galore."Quoted from the article by Derek Levin 2/2009 Jewelry Artist Magazine.

Well, we could not resist. Loving lizards and frogs and turtles and animals and plants like we do, we had to find out more about these cameos. We contacted the Rainforest Design and arranged to chose a cameo to use in one of our hairforks. We chose an adorable little gecko on a leaf and he was on his way to us!!
Once he,our little gecko, arrived we were stunned at the beauty of this cameo. Although we expected it to be beautiful, it far exceeded what we could envision. It is thin, like a fingernail, curved, exquisitely carved and translucent!  So, Now we set off to design a hairfork that would allow the light to shine through this cameo as it sits in the decorative part of the hairfork.
Of course the wood we chose was Lignum Vitae, as its green color would lend itsself so well to complimenting this natural cameo. WE decided to shape the top of the hair fork like the leaf the little guy was already carved sitting on. The part that Stacy had to be soley responsible for was the curve needed to set the cameo properly, as it has a very deep curve to it, and we wanted it in the middle of the hair fork top.
He has spent over 4 hours now carving the hole and groove where the precious cameo is to rest, and we are going to place copper wire around the setting in the back.
This hair fork is going to be a masterpiece combination of wood and carved cameo shell.... If you are a lover of nature, cameos and hairforks...be on the watch for this beautiful creation...it is in the last stages now and we are so excited to unveil it! It will come with a certificate of authenticity, and  the cameo is signed by the artist and is numbered as well, which is another reason we wanted to leave the backside open for viewing.

 A great big thanks to Roslyn at Rainforest Design for all of her help..we look forward to the sale of this beauty so we can come back for another!...but what to chose next..frog, turtle, flower..?.


  1. This is delightful! I collect turtles but I adore geckos too. What a great idea!

    Donna @ Comin' Home

  2. Lots of Link Love from <3

  3. I somehow missed this blog post when it was written. Better late than never…Thanks for the great write up!! Roslyn