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Cameo Jewelry Articles

Investing in Jewelry - Antique Cameos

Investing in Jewelry - Antique Cameos  
by Preston Reuther

Investing in 2014 seems to be on everyone’s mind today but one of the best investments around is really overlooked! And that investment is an investment in jewelry and especially antique cameo jewelry!


#1. You can usually buy an excellent antique cameo in gold or silver for under $300 and with the rate of inflation and the rise in precious metals not a bad deal. So you can get a good investment in 2014 by investing in jewelry. Antique cameo jewelry to be exact!  

#2. If you compare an investment in stock and an investment in art, antique and vintage cameos would win hands down. Antique cameos are not only jewelry made with precious metal such as gold or silver but a small work of art (a sculpture) that will also appreciate in value as time goes on.  Much like an investment in art work because that's what it is. 

Antique cameo jewelry always seems to appreciate in good times or bad. BUT: You must pick out the real art work investment that has been carved by a real human being, not a machine. Get the real deal!  An old cameo-carving cut by the human hand would be better than an investment in most stocks today.

#3. Antique cameos give you four benefits as an art investment:

A.  An investment in gold or silver
B.  An investment in art work
C.  An investment in antiques
D.  An investment in jewelry

Investing in 2014 is very different than it was years ago because we don't even know if our money will be worth the paper it is written on next year! For the first time in the history of the United States this has happened and investors are looking outside the box.

Investing in jewelry and antique cameos is similar to the stock market. You buy and hold your investment from 5 to 20 years and then will make a profit and many times a very large profit if your selection and buying price was good.

Now we are not talking about investing in plastic cameos but one of a kind antique hand  carved shell cameos from Italy or hard stone cameos. Plastic doesn’t appreciate but gemstone or shell cameos carved by hand will.

#1. Be sure to know the difference between plastic and stone or shell.

#2. A stress line is ok but a crack in the shell can hurt the retail price of your investment.

#3. Don’t be fooled and buy a counterfeit!

#4.  Before you invest in a high priced antique cameo.  Get some expert advice and not your corner jewelry but someone who deals in old cameos, a specialist who is willing to work with you on your investment journey.

#5. An art cameo of full bodied people or several people well carved is known as an art cameo and will usually appreciate much faster and higher than a regular one profile person. Not always but usually.

#6. You are not necessarily looking for gold or silver as an investment, you are looking for art as an investment. The oldest and best carved cameos can have a brass setting on them!

#7. It might help to know the cameo carvers name so you can check any signature of the carver on the rear of the cameo. (check the list on this website) 

#8. Hard stone cameos are a good jewelry investment when they are well carved. They are more expensive but much more difficult to find at a good price. But will appreciate faster and get a higher price eventually.

#9. A collection of one type of cameos will sell higher than any single cameos. The collection can be of art cameos, Medusa heads, a certain carver, etc. Collections sell higher at auctions.

#10. When you get ready to sell, you cannot do this at your corner jewelry store. You must have your cameo or cameos presented in a high end arena, such as an antique auction or high end jewelry auction, or sell in an investment publication. 

You might even consider selling your collection in the country where cameos are most popular and the economy is good at the time of the sale.  The Japanese are the largest investors in cameos.

Let’s face it, times are changing quickly and investing in 2014 and the way we invest money is changing along with the changing times.   Invest in jewelry and, more particular, antique cameo jewelry, instead of stock or in addition to stock, and sell them when you are ready to retire.
PLUS you can enjoy the collection and you or your wife can certainly wear them and enjoy them while they are appreciating. You can’t do that with a stock certificate!  Have fun with your investment and enjoy it.

REMEMBER If you want to make money investing in 2014, antique cameos could be the #1 best investment that you can make. Buy now and hold them from 5 to 20 years and you could do well. Like most investments it is not a short term investment and, yes, there are exceptions to all rules but usually you have to hold for 5 years or more. Unless you are lucky and find a cameo carving of Shah Jahan, the builder of the Taj Mahal. That cameo sold for over $3,000,000!!!  So how do you know what’s the best jewelry investment to make?


#1. Team up with a good collector or dealer and negotiate to buy from them at a reduced rate by buying multiple cameos. NOTE—YOU MUST BUY AT A DISCOUNTED RATE TO GET THE BEST APPRECIATION.  You have to get a deal on them and to do that you might have to buy 3 or more. Or buy collections or purchase from the dealer at an ongoing venture. You have to buy wholesale to make this investment work.

Getting a good appraisel before you buy any expensive antique cameo could better prepare you for your jewelry investment.Or if it is a cheaper cameo check to see how much there selling on e bay. Multiply times 2 for the current retail value.

#2. Diamonds inside an antique cameo always do well as a jewelry investment

#3. Very few jewelers will work in white gold cameo settings today.  It's almost a lost art. White gold is a good choice for a setting for investing in art cameos.

#4. A signature on your cameo does not guarantee more money on your jewelry investment as opposed to a cameo without one but it is a good sign usually. And the intials or name of a  famous cameo carver is certainly a big plus on any old cameo jewelry investment.

#5. A pin and pendant combination is both appealing and makes your jewelry collection easier to sell when its time to auction off your jewelry investment.

#6.  An ornate setting will sell better than a plain setting in any jewelry investment.  You don't have to be a professional to tell a beautiful setting from an ugly one. 


#7.  Stick to hand carved cameos rather than machine cut. Machine cut agates are works of art and as a piece of jewelry they're fine but as a long term jewelry investment, you want hand carved and one of a kind pieces. You want to invest in art not jewelry per se.

#8. Tiny pearls, diamonds, or gemstones made into the setting are always a big plus for anyone investing in jewelry in 2014.  Usually a cameo encrusted in gems, pearls and diamonds will sell for much higher than one that is not. 

If you are going to invest in jewelry, especially antique cameo jewelry, you need to learn as much as you can about them. Get educated on cameos and it will prepare you for the wonderful world of antique cameo collecting as an investment!


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. produced over 34 jewelry making dvds. written over 300 newsletters and over 1000 tips all related to jewelry both old and new.  Visit Preston's antique cameo collection at or Contact Us


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