Carving Out a Story

For many regions of the world, the fine art of cameo carving is a thing of the past. Except of course in Idar -Oberstein, Germany. This region is renowned for its cameo and gemstone cutting masters. 

Leading this elite group of carving artists is the Roth family. Learn more by visiting the Roth's website, and especially their Galerie; 

For many carvers in the region, cameo carving is a family affair. And so often it is a multi-generational vocation. How else can one learn the delicate subtleties of hand carving except by watching a master perform this skill over and over?


black and white tumbled banded agate sample  

The banded agate cameo shown up top was hand carved and part of a larger collection of Biblical themed subjects. The marvelous trait about banded agate, a naturally occurring material is that it develops into multi-layers of different colors.With deft precision, a carver utilizes these various layers to create perspective plus the subject of the carving with a contrasting color for the background.

Each cameo in the Roth's Biblical suite conveys not only a story, but with it the emotion behind the topic. This is the Holy Family fleeing to Egypt to escape the wrath of Herod who wanted to find the Christ Child ---and kill him. In this depiction. Mary securely holds her infant, looking ahead with trepidation but quiet resolve.

But look at Joseph--as the family protector, and leader, he's guiding their journey forward, yet glancing back to ensure that they are not being pursued. 

This art form may not have many experts nowadays, like the Roth's, whose cameos are a permanent testament to this exquisite art-form. Yet each hand carved work of art opens a tiny window into a story the carver wants us to know.

Cameo Courtesy: Andreas Roth, Roth Cameos, Idar-Oberstein


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