Cameo, or No Cameo?

One of my CameosThe other night I was looking through a vast archive of CDVs for some new dress ideas. Since I was looking at women’s dresses (and mostly trimming) I noticed something else… not many women or girls were wearing cameos. It got me thinking- are cameos period correct? If they were, were they reserved for the younger set?

The first thing I looked for was some photo documentation. I found a handful of images. Here are 3 of the small few I found:

The cameo is very large here!

The cameo is very small in this example.

Another small cameo example.

The second criteria I looked for was how big the cameos were. For some, the cameos were large and easy to find, but many were smaller and harder to locate on the picture. Personally, I have one small and one large cameo. My small cameo, pictured above, is about an 1 1/2 inches tall and 1 1/2 inches wide. The other cameo, not pictured, is probably 2 inches tall and 1 1/2 inches wide. By the photos, you can see that the cameos did range in size from person to person.

An example of an older woman with a cameo.

The third criteria was the age of the wearer. I noticed that about two thirds of the images I found were younger girls/women and the last third was of older women. I concluded that it was fashionable for younger girls and women to wear cameos, and the fashion-forward older woman wore one as well. (Of course, that was a large and general assumption based on the pictures I could procure!)

While I was doing my research, I started to think about some places where I could buy pretty cameos to wear. I had bought both of mine at flea markets after bargaining prices (The cameo pictured above was $16, and I haggled down to $8) I managed to have a sizable collection of 2. The first place I could find was Abraham’s Lady. Another online store is The Jeweler’s Daughter.

Overall, I found that cameos are indeed period correct for 1860s re-enacting/period impressions. There is photo documentation to back it up, including backing up the facts that cameos ranged in size and the wearers were both young and old. Do you wear a cameo with your 1860s period impression?


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