Six out of over 100.000 seashells species existing in the world have been used for more than one century in  the jewellery business; they provide  material for the most appreciated artists, the cameo cutters of Torre del Greco.
 The craftmen from Torre del Greco use the different colours of the seashell’s layers in order to produce  a relief effect.
The most used shells for this purpose are Cassis madagascariensis, Cypraecassis rufa, Cassis cornuta, Cypraea tigris, Strombus gigas  and Pinctata margaritifera. The first four are by far the most  largely used, while the first two are the most appreciated ones in fine cameowork.
The most important steps in the cutting process are: first layer removal, marking, profile moulding, sandling, placement in colophony, designing, skecthing, engraving, finishing, polishing and oil removal. In the Malacological Museum of Cupra Marittima a whole section is dedicated to the world of cameos. Also the latest works of the cutters of Torre del Greco are presented periodically.
In 1993 the museum promoted the monography “Cameos: Jewellery from Seashells“ written by T. Cossignani and published by L’Informatore Piceno. This book reveals a thousand secrets of an art  jelously kept secret in Naples. The book is unique in the world  and includes  the masterworks of the main contemporary cameo cutters.
The shells used by the cameo cutters offer an infinity of possibilities; the use of these shells is enormously widespread. For cameos, handcrafters use the outer coating of the shell (cup), which is the principal material for this handcraft. Sometimes also the inner lip (the second cup) of the largest shells of Cassis madagascariensis  can be cut like the basic part, called “crown”. Practically all the rest is used for various purposes. From the thick lip the handcrafters get the material for earings, broches, necklaces etc. Those cut from the layers of Cypraecassis rufa , Strombus gigas  and Pinctada margaritifera  are especially appreciated. Some lips are moulded rapidly  to make amulets of fortune while other sculptures are carved with care and turned into pieces of art. From the rest of the Cypraecassis rufa  shells, without the outer coating , the craftsmen of Torre del Greco carve light-holders to sell in the sanctuaries or as souvenirs. There are attempts of imitation which come into concurrency with the commercial cameo sector but there is no need to say that  they find it difficult to lodge themselves into the environment of artistic production. The only thing they’ve succeed to do in China is the cameo production in plastic, though this has nothing to do with the precious objects made in Torre del Greco. The only shell which we can cut with the machine is Pinctada margaritifera. It has an homogeneic nacreous lining and that’s why it also allows the production of iridescent cameos without the contrast of the colour that usually gives the value to the cameo sculptures.