My maternal grandmother had humble roots on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. She met a young handsome blond sailor from Romania, who had come to America for a better life and to fight for our side in WWI. After the war, he gave my grandmother a lovely black onyx cameo engagement ring, with a plain bezel and hand engraved ornament on the band. It’s hallmarked “14K” , indicating American, not European origin, and inscribed “S.H.F 2/2 1917”.
I was given the ring after my grandmother’s death, and to this day wear it as a right hand ring endowed with a little piece of my own fashion history. Recently, I started collecting vintage cameos in a variety of materials, especially colorful English Jasperware and Italian coral and shell. Collecting isn’t really the right word. I am obsessed with cameo jewelry.
Cameos add a graphic punch of color and design, plus a bit of much needed romance, to my modern classic wardrobe which leans piously towards subdued tonal palettes. But if I’m feeling particularly adventurous, I’ll throw on an eclectic mix of Liberty prints, stripes, tweeds or plaids and finish it off with a cameo piece or three. See a curated selection of vintage cameo jewelry at my portfolio site CynthiaRybakoff.com.
Cynthia Rybakoff vintage French blue cameo ring, size 6 1/2, with modern 24k vermeil finish, edition 1/1 $255, by request at CynthiaRybakoff.com.