Softer gems emphasize the surface of the gem, not the
internal play of light. These gems are carved by an artist to create
their beauty. Designs or words can be engraved into the surface of the
gemstone. The design is dependant on the artist.
Jade is an example of a gemstone that can be
carved. It is usually the mineral jadeite or nephrite that is used to
produce the characteristic green color. Jade is especially used to
create decorative pendants.
A cameo is actually from a mollusk shell.
Certain shells (especially conch type shells) have two different colored
layers. The artist carves an image in one layer and the other layer is
the background. Different types shells have different colors. Carvers
work with a carving tool called a bullino, introduced by Italian carvers
several hundred years ago, or small dental drills, to grind away the