Roman memories

Charming micromosaic pendant in gold setting, circa 1845

Oh, Rome! The capital of Italy is a place of longing. In spring and summer, when the flowers are fragrant, strolling along the wide boulevards, getting lost in the bustle of the alleyways in the centre or enjoying an ice cream in one of the squares - who wouldn't get their heart racing? More than 170 years ago, a traveller to Rome was so moved by this that he or she wanted to preserve this feeling forever with a precious souvenir. The gold jewel created for this purpose holds an oval micromosaic depicting fragrant summer flowers. A frame of fine leaf ornaments in engraved gold holds the mosaic securely. Small works of art made of micromosaic were a popular souvenir from Rome in the 19th century. They reminded of the stay in the south and at the same time showed a particularly typical medium of the arts of Italy in astonishing form: Because since ancient times mosaics decorated and still decorate the great churches and palaces of this country in the south. Originally made as a brooch, it was transformed into a pendant with a loop in earlier times. With a matching modern gold chain it can be worn immediately around the neck. The making of the setting was the naturalistic style popular in the 1840s and frames the undamaged mosaic in high karat gold.

The origin of the art of micromosaic lies in Rome. Here, more precisely in the Vatican, a workshop for mosaics made of glass blocks existed since the 16th century. Initially, this was done to protect the altarpieces in St. Peter's Basilica in a permanent form against the candle soot, moisture and dirt that the many pilgrims brought into the church. Later, after this task was completed, further copies of paintings were made as well as landscape representations in painting size. The idea of using this ultimately antique technique also for jewellery and for the decoration of craft objects arose at the end of the 18th century. As part of the Grand Tour, countless travellers from northern Europe arrived in the city, creating a great demand for souvenirs. Not least to serve this market, a whole new art form emerged: micromosaics are small and portable, and were therefore particularly suited to being taken back home to the north. Since they also usually show the beauties of Rome or motifs from antiquity, their success as travel souvenirs is hardly surprising. The "invention" of the micromosaic is associated above all with Giacomo Raffaelli and Cesare Aguatti, who perfected this technique around 1775. They founded a tradition from which, until the end of the 19th century, mosaics were created with such a richness of detail and artistry that had never been achieved before or since. For even today, corresponding mosaics are produced in Rome, albeit in significantly lower quality. Cf. on the technique and history of micromosaics the relevant literature: Maria Grazia Branchetti: Mosaici minuti romani, Rome 2004, with many works by Giacomo Raffaelli, as well as Roberto Grieco/Arianna Gambino: Roman Mosaic. L'arte del micromosaico fra '700 e '800, Milan 2001.

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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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