Love is in the Air

Cute antique brooch with pietra dura in gold, Italy 1870s

Doves have been present in the iconography of Europe since the origins of culture. As birds of the ancient goddess of love Venus, we encounter them on ancient mosaics. Christianity venerates them as messengers of peace and the Holy Spirit, because the return of a dove with an olive branch in its beak to the ark, after the catastrophe of the Flood, is regarded in the Old Testament as a sign of peace between God and his creation, above all mankind. In Victorian England, they were also considered love birds, as it was believed that birds beaking so lovingly held lifelong fidelity to each other. Then, as late as the 1980s, the dove returned as a symbol of peace. Here, an Italian mosaicist has captured one of the friendly feathered creatures for eternity. Against a black background we see a flying messenger of peace. She is formed from cut agate plates, which have been set into a black limestone. This technique, called "Pietra Dura", hard stone, is a speciality of the artisans from Florence - and this mosaic probably also originates from Florence. The elaborate framing of chased gold plate frames the beautiful depiction into a brooch. It is designed in the taste of the 1870s, so that it can be assumed that the mosaic was created in this period. The brooch is in first class condition.

Pietra Dura (it. "hard stone") is a traditional craft from Florence, in which pictures and ornaments are composed of platelets of hard stone. Unlike the classical mosaic art of coloured cubes or pins, the Pietra Dura process uses precisely adapted shaped pieces, which are cut according to the corresponding fields of the preliminary drawing. This creates particularly resistant, durable decorative surfaces. The heyday of the Pietra Dura craft in Florence was in the 16th century, when not only the famous Medici Chapel in San Lorenzo was decorated, but also numerous tables, pieces of jewellery, altars and in fact every conceivable object was decorated with this elaborate and costly technique. But even today, at 78 Via degli Alfani, the Opificio delle Pietre Dure is a workshop that specializes solely in the production of works of art using this technique. Pietra Dura jewellery has 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.

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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.