Why Amedeo Is Bringing Cameos To The Metaverse

Why Amedeo Is Bringing Cameos To The Metaverse
Written by Publishing Team

Amedeo is taking its irreverent cameos into the future, with a NFT collection in collaboration with Exclusible, a virtual boutique launch in the Spring and big plans in the pipeline for year-end. But for a company founded by a sixth-generation cameo artist from Italy, what is the pull of the virtual world?

Amedeo Scognamiglio’s excitement bursts from the screen as he talks about his plans for web3 domination. He’s fallen down a digital rabbit hole and surfaced in a Wonderland where anything is possible: “a designer applies his vision to a product; if that product happens not to be physical, it opens up broader scenarios. It’s about complete freedom of expression.” It’s an appealing creative prospect; and he believes that his new NFT activity could one day be on a financial par with his core business: the ancient art of hand-carved cameos.

Available from March 12 via the premium NFT marketplace Exclusible, the collection includes 1,000 generative digital cameos based on his signature monkey and skull designs, and just like their real-world counterparts, the detail is exquisite. Each one is unique and comes with its own Instagram filter, introducing the buyer to the “Amedeo community” including all-important real-world add-ons like private studio tours and access to events which leverage the brand’s heritage to create digital-physical . Some buyers are expected to be existing clients who have already fallen for his subversive aesthetic, others will be less familiar territory: NFT collectors from the Exclusible community; Predominantly male, moneyed design aficionados, a brand new target for the traditionally female jewelry category.

Digital collectibles open the way for new markets

As Exclusible CCO Olivier Moingeon says, “NFTs enable collectors to own digital assets, creators to earn royalties and brands to develop a new kind of audience. We’re witnessing the birth of a cultural revolution.” In the art world, the shift has thrown open the traditional market to a new breed of collector prepared to pay large sums for the kind of exclusive digital images that were previously only valuable to the gaming industry, and that rarity also appeals to luxury consumers: “The digital design work behind NFTs is laborious, precise and highly skilled, exactly as with fine art,” says Vanessa Curry, Founding Director of Fine Art Source art consultancy. “Nevertheless, digital design has previously received negative judgment from the traditional art world. Part of the appeal for tech-savvy audiences is that NFTs represent a reaction to the market and a ground-up revolution of how digitally created artwork is regarded.”

The luxury industry loves to be ahead of the curve, but for the vibrant community of predominantly young, cool collectors who believe in the crypto economy, NFT art and collectibles are already reality. Robin Janaway, head of NFT Strategy at Outlier Ventures, a market-leading web3 venture capital and accelerator, introduced Scognamiglio to Exclusible and is keen to position Amedeo as an early mover into the NFT metaverse space. He believes there is a “natural fit with the luxury fashion market, where the collectibility of digital and scarce asserts is paired with the ideas of real ownership and brand trust.”

Despite the fact that he will only ever know most of his buyers as avatars, the King of Cameos is betting big on the new dimension. He’s one of the first independent jewelry designers to make the move and unlike other NFT jewelry collections, this one is primarily cyberspace-only in an effort to keep the two realms separate (although Amedeo NFT holders can special-order physical versions of their digital cameos if they choose). He worked with 3D designers to create pieces that are recognizably his; “it’s about bringing inspiration from physical jewelry into the metaverse. I’m entering a new phase in life and reflecting on what’s next.” So, when new stores and launches lose their shine, where do you go?

Crossover clients and the new luxury

For the luxury industry, the answer is deeper into cyberspace. According to Morgan Stanley, digital luxury goods could grow by an extra $50 billion by 2030 and gamification – a digital presence in online games like Fortnite, or bespoke gaming worlds created for the labels themselves – is proving a draw for brands from Balenciaga to Gucci. It’s a niche world, but one that’s highly contagious and moving fast, due to the unique and inherently desirable nature of NFTs.

Just like in the real world, users display their identity and allegiance to a group through their online ‘look’ and digital purchases: “NFT creators and buyers view themselves as part of a community that is far more integrated than the traditional design market,” Curry explains, “there is the sense of ‘by the people, for the people'”. Straight fine jewelry NFTs would have been too one-dimensional for Scognamiglio’s community, the Amedeo customer is already into the kind of visuals that are hot currency in cyberspace, the humor, and the aesthetic that play perfectly in the metaverse: “if the guys who are making and spending crypto buy art, it’s NFTs,” he says, “if I can bring some of my jewelry clients over, we’ll have a new tribe in a new world.”

Scognamiglio was brought up in Torre del Greco just south of Naples, a hub for the Italian cameo industry, where his family had been making cameos since the mid-1850s. The young Amedeo began carving in his teens, and eventually grew into his own jewelry business based in New York City. He has since moved it back to Italy, to be closer to production and his store in Capri, but retains a global client base.

“These days, we take craftsmanship for granted,” Scognamiglio explains, “but the demand for experiences linked to NFTs is high. Collectors are young and hype, but they want to see how they are made.” And that, surely is the ultimate meta: craft coming full circle, from the Ancient World to the metaverse and back again, as a new generation gets into a centuries-old art form. And it couldn’t be further from your grandmother’s cameo brooches.


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