Neo Etruscan crucifix in original box

Neo Etruscan crucifix in original box…Top notch quality !

Victorian Cross, Beautiful Elaborated Neo Etruscan Gold Crucifix From Italy

There are crosses and there are crosses but this one is one of the nicest in its sort that we have ever come along. Skilfully crafted with filigree and granules, a real joy for the eyes. The corpus is 3-dimensionally worked out and the aureole is also made in the finest filigree and granules technique. It comes in its original box with the text: “Luigi Freschi – Via Condotti – 55, 55a, 56 57, Corso Umberto 1º 401 – ROMA”.

In the second half of the 19th Century goldsmiths of that era sought and found their inspiration by excavations such as Pompeï and the Etruscan treasures. Especially in Italy the so-called Neo-Etruscan style reached high levels as we can see here with this beautiful refined cross.

This jewel features a filigree decoration, which is in fact thin golden wire twisted into refined motifs, in this case elegant little balls. You can also notice the use of granulation on this piece. Granulation is a technique where the goldsmith uses very small balls (granules) of metal, which are not soldered to the piece but welded. Both techniques demand very high skills and precision from the maker.

Click the picture for more information on this beauty.


Filigree Necklace Fontenay

Filigree Necklace Gold Fontenay

It is with great pride that we offer this magnificent necklace here. A true museum piece that we are thrilled to have in our collection.

The continuous uniform fringe decorated with beads, wirework and florettes of this necklace is typical for the work of Eugène Fontenay. A demi-parure of very similar design is illustrated in French Jewelry of the Nineteenth Century, Henri Vever, translated by Katherine Purcell, p. 643. and a similar necklace plus matching earrings were sold last year at Sotheby’s for $ 52,000!

The archaeological revival is the appellation for neo-styles of the 18th and 19th centuries that where inspired by discoveries in the excavations of Roman, Egyptian, Hellenistic and Etruscan sites. The first revival in the 18th century, which is called neoclassicism, came after excavations of the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The second revival was inspired by finds in Etruscan burial sites (in Italy). In jewelry, this style is characterized by granulation and filigree decorations.

There is some discussion among experts on who rediscovered the granulation technique. To some it was Castellani in the 19th Century but various methods of manufacturing and handling of granules have been described by Pliny in 79 AD, V. Biringucchio in 1540, G. Agricola in 1556, B. Cellini in 1568, M. Fachs in 1595 and A. Libavius in 1597/1606. In fact never since it was first used has granulation been a lost art. Until far into the 19th Century, the time of its alleged ‘rediscovery’, this technique has thrived continuously in many places like Russia, Bulgaria, Mongolia, Tibet and Persia. This also holds true for Swiss, German and Dutch folk-jewelry.

Eugène Fontenay (1823-87) was one of the foremost goldsmiths in France during the second half of the nineteenth century. He was a great admirer of the ancient techniques of granulation and filigree, and became best known for his outstanding work in the ‘archaeological’ style. Fontenay was no doubt inspired by the Campana collection of ancient jewellery, acquired by Napoleon III in 1860, and his firm produced much work in the antique style based on Greek, Roman and Etruscan examples.

Click the picture to see a close-up of this magnificent necklace.