Traditional imaging modalities such as computed tomography, although perfectly adept at identifying and quantifying advanced calcification, cannot detect the early stages of this disorder and offer limited insight into the mechanisms of mineral dysregulation. This review presents optical molecular imaging as a promising tool that simultaneously detects pathobiological processes associated with inflammation and early stages of calcification in vivo at the (sub)cellular levels. Research into treatment of cardiovascular calcification is lacking, as shown by clinical trials that have failed to demonstrate the reduction of calcific aortic stenosis. Hence, the need to elucidate the pathways that contribute to cardiovascular calcification and to develop new therapeutic strategies to prevent or reverse calcification has driven investigations into the use of molecular imaging. This review discusses studies that have used molecular imaging methods to advance knowledge of cardiovascular calcification, focusing in particular on the inflammation-dependent mechanisms of arterial and aortic valve calcification.