Hail Caesar, the dead salute thee!

Wonderful Grand Tour brooch with micromosaic of the Colosseum, Rome circa 1850

Ave Caesar, morituri te salutant ("Hail Caesar, the dead salute you!"). According to tradition, this was the phrase with which gladiators greeted the Roman ruler when they fought for their lives in the Colosseum. For centuries, the most famous of all ancient amphitheatres in the heart of Rome was the scene of bloody spectacles. Travellers who visited Rome on the Grand Tour in the 19th century were particularly fond of bringing home micromosaics with views of the city as souvenirs. We are pleased to present a beautiful micromosaic brooch from the mid-19th century in this offer: The small, oval mosaic shows the Arena, built between 72 and 80 AD under Emperor Vespasian, which was converted into a city fortress of the noble Frangipani dynasty in the Middle Ages. The view from the west side shows the partly ruinous condition of the monumental arena and its luxuriant vegetation. Impressively, the executing artist has succeeded in capturing the atmosphere and light conditions in countless tiny glass tesserae. With astonishing refinement and knowledge of detail, the brooch thus presents the building that has become the epitome of Roman power and grandeur, but also reminds us of the inevitable transience of all earthly splendour.

Around 1775, Giacomo Raffaelli and Cesare Aguatti in Rome invented a new technique of working glass into tiny mosaics, which became known as "mosaici filati" (spun mosaics). Using this technique, it was now possible to decorate jewellery and small everyday objects snuffboxes, boxes, paperweights with mosaics that had previously adorned the walls and floors of Italian churches. The most famous mosaic factories of the 18th and 19th centuries were located in Rome, especially in the Vatican, and their most beautiful and sought-after works show, besides especially views of the city of Rome and its famous buildings, which were bought by travellers who visited the "Eternal City" and wanted to take a souvenir.

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.


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.