In the Georgian and Victorian periods, wealthy people undertook tours of Italy, Egypt and Greece, in particular to admire Roman ruins and Renaissance architecture. They tried to purchase souvenirs from each place they visited. In Rome, they usually purchased micro mosiac jewellery
and in Florence, it was pietra dura items.
Pompeii was a popular destination for these wealthy tourists and jewellery was sold that was supposed to contain lava from Mount Vesuvius. The lava came in muted brown, grey, greens, ochre and cream, and skilful artists carved and polished beautiful cameos which were turned into bracelets, brooches, pendants, earrings and necklaces. The carvings were usually of classical heads or great Italian artists or writers. As the stone is quite soft, the cameos are usually carved in high relief which means they can suffer from damage over time.