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Cameo Museums & Where to Find Them by Preston Reuther

antique cameos

Sometimes, in order to be inspired, a future cameo artist needs to turn to visual examples of a cameo in order to be inspired. First, most people would probably conduct a pictorial internet search. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, the internet currently does not offer an internet-based cameo museum. However, it does tell one where historical and modern cameo jewelry is being displayed now and in the future.

So in this little "mini-article", I shall give a brief listing and description of museums offering cameo displays.

The best "permanent home" for displays of historical cameos is the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Many rare Victorian and Renaissance [religious] cameos have found a home here.

Museum Contact Info:

Victoria and Albert Museum
Book online or call 0870 906 3883
Advance booking is strongly recommended. Timed tickets are in operation. A booking fee is payable on all pre-booked tickets.

A little closer to home, you can tour cameo exhibits once a year at the famed Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. This year the cameo exhibit, "Cameo Appearances", will be on display at the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Special Exhibitions Gallery of the Metropolitan Museum of Art from March 8th, through January 29th, 2006. The exhibit traces cameo carving from Greco-Roman antiquity to the Renaissance.

The "Met Museum" also houses the permanent cameo collection of financier Milton Weil, who died in 1934. In addition, a fine carving of Nessus and Deianira (1815-20) by Giuseppe Girometti (1779-1851), was acquired recently by the Metropolitan Museum and can soon be viewed in the Carroll and Milton Petrie European Sculpture Court.

Museum Contact Info:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street
New York, New York 10028-0198
General Information: 212-535-7710
TTY: 212-570-3828 or 212-650-2551

When traveling through the Midwest, visit the Lizzadro Museum, which houses a small collection of agate cameo plates and bowls and small pendant sized cameos of stone and shell. Many items in their collection are made of hardstone, and are the work of contemporary artist Richard Hahn, of Idar-Oberstein, Germany.

Museum Contact Info:

Lizzadro Museum
Address: 220 Cottage Hill, Elmhurst IL 60126
Phone: (630) 833-1616

Lastly, don't forget the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum located in sunny Sanibel, Florida. They have a very small exhibit of shell cameos and other forms of shell art. The cameo exhibit is number 17.

Museum Contact Info:

Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum
3075 Sanibel-Captiva Road
Sanibel, Florida 33957 USA
Phone: (239) 395-2233 Toll-free: (888) 679-6450

Reservations are required.

Bon Voyage and Happy Cameo Watching!


Preston Reuther is a Master Wire Sculptor that has been collecting, buying and selling cameos for close to 20 years. He has written several e-books and produced over 30 jewelry making dvds. Visit his antique cameo collection at or e-mail him at preuther @ or by calling 1-816-689-2779.

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