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What is this?

Suite of jewelry with gold filigree mounts around micromosaic oval scenes of Rome in cobalt blue borders; comprising a necklace centered by a view of St Peter's, with various ruins, and the Colisseum, and Pantheon; a pair of gold bracelets each with one arch view, a pair of earrings, and a pair of brooches.

Why is this in our collection?

Unique micro-mosaic parures (suites of jewelry) were a popular souvenir among tourists traveling to Italy on the Grand Tour. These delicate baubles captured the bella vistas of Italy’s most famous sites. Designed for women, a parure traditionally consisted of a necklace with matching bracelets, earrings and a brooch or pin, although some also included accessories such as hair ornaments and tiaras.
The process of making micro-mosaic jewelry was extremely labor intensive, precise work. A craftsman would use tweezers to patiently arrange hundreds of colored tesserae, small pieces of glass or stone, on a pane of glass. The finest work can achieve up to 5,000 tesserae per square inch. Any gaps were filled with a colored wax and the piece was then carefully polished. It is estimated that there were between 150 to 200 workshops in Rome creating micro-mosaics by the middle of the nineteenth century.
The tesserae in this parure were mounted on gold filigree and ringed with a rich cobalt blue border. Its mosaics feature Italy’s famed ancient ruins, architecture, and pastoral scenes, including the Pantheon, the Coliseum, the Temple of Vesta, and St. Peter’s Basilica.

This is a suite of micro-mosaic jewelry from Italy. It is dated 1800–25 and we acquired it in 1991. Gift of Frederick Saal in honor of Dr. and Mrs. Joseph Saal.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ This object is currently resting in our storage facility.

Its medium is

gold, glass mosaics

Its dimensions are

H x W x D (necklace, on flat surface): 0.4 x 45.5 x 2.8 cm (3/16 x 17 15/16 x 1 1/8 in.) H x W x D (bracelet): 0.4 x 2.3 x 18.9 cm (3/16 x 7/8 x 7 7/16 in.) H x W x D (bracelet): 0.4 x 2.4 x 18.3 cm (3/16 x 15/16 x 7 3/16 in.) H x W x D (earrings): 1 x 1.2 x 3.5 cm (3/8 x 1/2 x 1 3/8 in.) H x W x D (earrings): 1 x 1.2 x 3.5 cm (3/8 x 1/2 x 1 3/8 in.) H x W x D (brooch): 0.9 x 3.1 x 2.3 cm (3/8 x 1 1/4 x 7/8 in.) H x W x D (brooch): 0.9 x 3.2 x 2.3 cm (3/8 x 1 1/4 x 7/8 in.) H x W x D (pendant): 0.3 x 2 x 1.5 cm (1/8 x 13/16 x 9/16 in.)

This object was donated by Frederick Saal

This object is the first item in a set that contains 8 objects.

A timeline of event horizons

This object has been included in the following exhibitions:

See more stuff from the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Suite Of Micro-mosaic Jewelry (Italy), 1800–25 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=4 August 2015 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

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