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Cameo is a carving technique that results in a subject standing out (in relief) from an item that’s being carved, such as a shell or gemstone. Historically cameo referred to an image, usually a portrait of a person, that was pale in colour, standing out against the rich colour of its background. This effect was achieved by a carver working in from the outer edge of a gemstone or shell and slowly scraping away the pale layer on top, leaving some of it to stand out as an image against the rich colour underneath. A cameo carver would use sharp steel gravers to create the fine details. Although modern machinery can help with some this today, the technique of working by hand hasn’t changed in thousands of years.