Roman Holiday

Excellent demi-parure with gold set micromosaics, Rome circa 1865

Ancient micromosaics never cease to arouse the admiration of today's viewers. With what effort the tiniest stones were once so artistically assembled that entire landscapes and cityscapes were created! Throughout the 19th century, micromosaics from Rome were among the most popular souvenirs from Rome and found their way across the Alps in the luggage of travellers on the Grand Tour. This excellent demi-parure is one such early travel souvenir. The set consists of a brooch and matching earrings and presents a total of five fine micromosaics with views of the Eternal City and its surroundings. For example, the brooch shows a view of St. Peter's Basilica and St. Peter's Square enclosed by Bernini's colonnades. Around the central obelisk, moreover, we even see the gas lighting installed in 1854, of which one was particularly proud as a technical achievement and which none of the later mosaics of the place does without. The two long earrings each present two further micromosaics. Both earrings show under the brisures a view of the famous waterfalls of the Aniene at Tivoli. Below them we see on the one hand a view of the Forum Romanum and on the other hand the round temple of Hercules Victor on the Forum Boarium. All the mosaics of the demi-parure are set in deep black glass and are held in place by simple gold mounts. Created in the 1860s, the Demi-Parure, preserved in its original box, is one for collectors of Grand Tour memorabilia, a way to dream your way to the Eternal City for any lover of the Land of Mignon - and also still wearable today.

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 to protect the altarpieces in St. Peter's Basilica in a permanent form against candle soot, moisture and dirt, which 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.

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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.

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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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