27 August 2015

Micro Mosaic Jewellery

While on the lookout for interesting jewellery pieces for a recent magazine photo shoot, we spotted beautiful micro mosaic jewellery and instantly fell in love with these awe-inspiring mini-masterpieces. 

The term micro mosaic, coined by British-born businessmen and collector Sir Arthur Gilbert, referred to Roman mosaics created from tiny fragments of glass called tesserae. These intricately crafted pieces depicted ancient Italian historical sites, as well as animal, bird, insect and floral motifs with incredible realism.  Mosaics were made into small oval or circular plaques cemented to a glass, stone, or metal background and incorporated into brooches, pins, pendants, necklaces, earrings, and rings. Many of these pieces were sold as souvenirs during the Grand Tour Era and the wealthiest tourists would even commission their own mosaics. Despite their popularity, micro mosaic jewellery was rarely mentioned in the jewellery design reports of their time, sadly indicating the lack of appreciation for the precision and tremendous level of workmanship required to create these magnificent pieces. The early 20th century saw the downfall of this form of art, with the higher quality micro mosaic jewellery ceasing to be made. 

Micro mosaic jewellery is a true work of art and finer quality pieces are rare to find.  We are delighted to have found some wonderful pieces at Grays. Here are our favourites: 

18ct gold Victorian micro mosaic bulla pendant set in 18ct, Etruscan style made in Italy.
Offered by The Antique Jewellery Company
Silver gilt micro mosaic Victorian pendant, made in Italy.
Offered by The Antique Jewellery Company

18ct gold Victorian micro mosaic brooch set into a blue glass surround, made in Italy.
Offered by The Antique Jewellery Company
Italian c.1810 micro mosaic plaque of a crane, in original gold surround.
Offered by Peter Szuhay

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