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Antique medallion brooch with pietra dura in gold, Florence & England around 1890

Pietra Dura jewelry has been a popular souvenir from every visit to Florence since the Renaissance. Especially in the 19th century, many travelers brought these little marvels back home. The brooch presented here comes from exactly this period. A rectangular pietra dura field is set in a wonderful framing of yellow gold. A charming bouquet of forget-me-nots, lilies of the valley and roses made of different types of stones unfolds in front of the black ground of frosted black stone. Detailed stones of the composition are chosen just enough to create a naturalistic veining of the leaf surfaces - a small bravura piece of illusionism. All the flowers depicted are to be interpreted in connection with love. Forget-me-nots, for example, were to be understood literally in the floral language of the 19th century, pink and white roses symbolize purity and first love while the lily of the valley stands for the return of happiness. According to the stamping, the filigree framing of the brooch with applied leaves and flowers was made in England in 1890. Often the settings for Florentine souvenirs were first made in the home country of the travelers. On the back, a glazed medallion compartment allows for the storage of souvenirs.

Pietra Dura (it. "hard stone") is a traditional craft from Florence, in which images and ornaments are composed of platelets of hard stone. Unlike the classic mosaic art of colored cubes or pins, the Pietra Dura process uses precisely matched shaped pieces that are cut according to the corresponding squares of the preliminary drawing. This creates particularly resistant, durable decorative surfaces. The heyday of the Pietra Dura craft in Florence occurred in the 16th century, when not only the famous Medici Chapel in San Lorenzo was decorated, but also numerous tables, pieces of jewelry, altars and, in fact, every conceivable object was decorated with this elaborate and costly technique. Even today, in Via degli Alfani 78, you can find the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, a workshop that specializes solely in the production of works of art using this technique. Pietra Dura jewelry has therefore been a popular souvenir of every visit to Florence since the Renaissance. Especially in the 19th century, during the era of the Grand Tour, young noblemen from Northern Europe brought back pieces from their extensive travels in Italy to show the beauty and artistry of Italy to those at home.

We want you to be 100% satisfied! For that reason, we examine, describe and photograph all of our jewellery with the utmost care.

You can rely on our years of experience in the trade and our expertise as a professional art historians for reviews of the antique jewellery. As a member of various trader organisations and the British Society of Jewellery Historians, we remain committed to the highest possible degree of accuracy. In our descriptions, we always also indicate any signs of age and defects and never hide them in our photos – this saves you from any unpleasant surprises when your package arrives.

Should you for some reason not be satisfied, please don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can begin to find a solution together. In any case, you can return any article within 30 days and we will refund the full purchase price.


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We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.

If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.

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