NY Times Ancient and New: A Cameo Reappearance

LONDON — In Torre del Greco, a town near Naples in southern Italy, generations of artisans have intricately sculpted cameo images in bas relief onto soft Mediterranean seashells, corals and volcanic lava stones from nearby Mount Vesuvius.

An art form hundreds of years old, it was used to depict Roman gods, exotic animals, floral bouquets or the titled aristocracy of Europe. In the 19th century it was much used in memorial brooches to mourn the dead.

Now, it is being transformed by jewelry designers like Amedeo Scognamiglio, a native of Torre del Greco, who has created a global brand fusing ancient craftsmanship with modern influences, and Wilfredo Rosado, who has made the genteel cameo almost naughty...