The artists who carve the cameos sold at The Cameo Collection make
their home in the idyllic fishing village in southern Italy, Torre
del Greco. The town has been an international leader in shell
cameo production since the eighteenth century, when engravers first
set up workshops to use the coral brought back by local fishermen.
Master carver Gennaro Borriello is one of the leading cameo
producers in Torre del Greco, and from him we purchase our shell
cameos. Borriello employs numerous trained artists to help him complete
the orders. As master carver, Borriello signs the back of every
cameo he sells, also checking the finer details of each carving.
The finishing touches he adds to a piece have been known to transform
a beautiful cameo into a superb piece of art.
Gennaro Borriello is responsible for selecting the subject of each
cameo produced by his artists. His men work from their homes, not
a factory, etching the detail into each shell at their own pace.
A number of these artists have also reached the highly-regarded
status of master carver, and we sell cameos signed on the front
by Montanaro Luigi, Simonelli, Mazza, Ciro and Gyotto.
Montanaro Luigi, who signs his cameos with the name Itri,
comes from a family of engravers. Trained at the Institute of
Art in Torre del Greco, he is best known for his soft, classical
Simonelli, born in Torre del Greco, learned the miniature
art from the institute in Torre del Greco and his apprenticeships
with great local carvers, including F. Scala. The young artist's
cameos are popular on the Italian market because of his skill
in bringing fantasy into his work.
Mazza Ciro studied sculpture at the Academy of Art in
Naples before turning to cameos. He has developed a great love
for the art in recent years, and his hard work and attention to
detail ensure his success as a master carver.
Gyotto, the pseudonym for Ottaviano Luigi, learned cameo
carving from his uncle Pasquale Ottaviano, one of the greats of
Torre del Greco. He also studied at the Institute of Art, and
is rapidly gaining repute as a young carver.
Curious about how cameos are produced? Read our
summary of cameo carving techniques.
Thanks to Anna M. Miller's book Cameos
Old & New for information on Gennaro Borriello and the
town of Torre del Greco.