Micromosaic Butterfly and Ladybug seen together

Victorian micromosaic pendant with compartment in the back from the antique jewelry collection of Adin Antique Jewelry, Antwerp, Belgium(Click the picture to get to this beautiful micromosaic pendant)

Micromosaic is made from many small adjacent pieces (tesserae) of inlaid varicoloured glass or stone arranged to form a picture or design. For articles of jewelry, the mosaic was usually made in the form of medallions set in brooches, pendants, necklaces, finger rings, ear-rings, parures, etc.

Such work has been done principally in Italy, some being executed with skill and artistry in the 19th century, but many pieces being made in recent years as tourist souvenirs, with large tesserae of stone or glass that are roughly set, and sometimes with some painted portions. Pieces of good quality were mounted in gold frames, including some made by the Casa Castellani in Rome. The fashion for mosaic jewelry in England was mainly in the period 1820-60.

Mosaic work in jewelry was of two types:

  • Roman or Byzantine mosaic, with the tesserae made of glass, set into molten glass, and fused together
  • Florentine mosaic. (Venetian mosaic) made of slices of coloured glass canes, usually making a millefiori pattern, was seldom used for pieces of jewelry.

In both types the decorative motifs were often pictorial views of ancient ruins or famous buildings, and in the 1820s Egyptian motifs, but by the mid-l9th century the usual subjects had become more sentimental, e.g. flowers and pet dogs. The Florentine mosaic was imitated in Derbyshire, England, in the late 18th to early 19 century, by using local black marble and feldspar.


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