Everyone from Rihanna to trendsetter Chloe Sevigny has worked this exquisite adornment into their look---and in the former's case, that meant pinning it to a cool black beanie like it was no big deal.
Cameos have been around since antiquity, when they were still made from hardstone and depicted either mythological figures or heads of state. They enjoyed a second renaissance during the Renaissance and then a third during the 19th century. In both eras, coaxing them from shell became the preferred method. These finely-detailed raised relief carvings function as wearable mini-sculptures, but historically, they were unique signifiers of class, made in commemoration and given as gifts.
Today, the cameo comeback means that the spectrum of subjects may have changed---we've seen pieces portraying skulls and cobras---but the traditional look still reigns supreme. Italy's Bimonte Sorrento has been working in this style for 50 years, using carnelian and sardonyx shell as well as mother-of-pearl and agate in their designs, which preserve the classical Roman approach to cameo creation. The Diana pendant exemplifies this beautifully.
So how do you wear this little treasure? We've got five ways to style your cameo brooch.
1. Right on the collar
This is the classic position and always looks smart and pulled together. Rather than pin it to one side or the other, use it to function as the top button on a button-down shirt or to embellish a Peter Pan collar. We've also seen it jazzing up the neckline of a simple cable-knit sweater.
2. Hung on the pocket
Add your cameo to the breast pocket of a black tuxedo jacket or, for daytime, affix it to the pocket of your jean jacket for a high-low look. This is a less formal way to style your cameo, but it ensures that it gets noticed.
3. Made into something else
One of the best ways to reinvent the cameo is to literally reinvent it, turning it into a different type of jewelry piece. Pin a cameo brooch to a chain and convert it into a swingy necklace. Cameos also make wonderful signet rings, if you'd like to wholly rethink your piece.
4. Accessorizing the accessories
A cameo looks fresh and unexpected when it turns up on a hat, belt or even an evening glove, posing right at the cuff.
5. On your heels
If you're lucky enough to own a pair of cameo brooches, pin them to the counter (the top part of the back of your high heels), just above the heel itself. You'll give everyone something beautiful to look at every time you walk away.
Whether you've inherited your cameo or are selecting a Bimonte Sorrento piece, you'll want to keep it well-preserved, preferably in a lined box. Dust your cameo regularly and soak in mineral oil once a year, which will keep it from drying out.