In the late 18th century archaeological excavation, the publication of classical histories and collections, such as the vases owned by Sir William Hamilton, and the measurement of classical buildings and ruins by architects stimulated great interest in the antique. Education was grounded in the knowledge of Greek, Latin and authors such as Homer and Virgil. The recognition of legends, gods, heroes and heroines could be taken for granted by those who carved the gem and shell cameos. Gentlemen often finished their education by taking a continental tour that would include Rome, Naples and Pompeii. Engraved gems such as this cameo depicting a female portrait would be purchased. The gems could be mounted or unmounted, the latter to be set in jewellery mounts, to be worn as a sign of appreciation of the classical world.