MICRO-MOSAIC COLISEUM BROOCH
Micro-mosaics developed in Rome towards the end of the 18th century, originally from the stone mosaics which had been made for 1500 years earlier for wealthy Roman's villa floors. Instead of small pieces of naturally coloured stone, micro-mosaics are made of tiny pieces of coloured glass which start as rods and are pulled outwards. The colour changes as the rods are drawn out, so producing an infinite rainbow of colours. Micro-mosaics were very popular souvenirs with wealthy travellers on the Grand Tour of Europe-mostly Italy- inspecting Classical art and sculpture, and subjects are predominently Roman buildings, in this case the Coliseum. This example is of the highest quality, it being judged by the size of the tesserae as the tiny pieces of glass are called-the smaller the finer the work. In this they are really as small as you could get. It is set in a gold frame, almost like a picture frame, and could originally be worn as a bracelet using multiple strands of pearls or corals, or as a brooch, in which case the bracelet fittings can be detached. The brooch fittings could alternatively be detached if worn as a bracelet, but there is a new non-detachable brooch pin. I am going to see whether it is possible to reproduce the original detachable pin, but today it would mostly be worn, if not in a museum or collector's showcase, as a brooch. Overall size 2 3/4 x 1 3/4 inches: 5.7 x 4.4 cms. It is as fine an example of micro-mosaic as you will ever find.