Micromosaics are created from tiny fragments of tesserae, generally made from glass or enamel, set to form small pictures. The size of the tesserae can be as little as the lead in a mechanical pencil (about 1 mm), making a micromosaic is a painstaking process.
One common method includes melting glass, pulling it into thin rods or threads and then, after it cools, cutting it into tiny pieces that are then arranged on a copper or gold tray to create a scene, portrait, or landscape. Many depict ancient Italian landmarks or scenes from nature such as animals or plants. Whether metal or marble, mastic or cement was used to adhere the tesserae to the base as it was arranged into an image or scene.
Once that hardened, any gaps between the tesserae were often filled with colored wax. Then the image often was polished to give it a smooth and even surface. According to the Gemological Institute of America, one square inch of micromosaic jewelry can have as many as 1,400 pieces of tesserae.
This Italian treasure is a perfect example of the intersection between Etruscan revival and Greco-Roman techniques of execution. The medallion features a perfect dove atop a fruit basket micromosaic, and the construction, a stunning caned and granulated rendering.
Materials and Features: gold-filled
Measurements: 5.85" circumference, 18.7 grams
Condition: Excellent condition. Minor associated age wear.
Please view and inspect any photos closely. We endeavor to fully disclose all condition information clearly and concisely, however, please note that what qualifies as excellent condition for historical jewelry differs from modern and contemporary pieces; please take the age of the piece into account when examining the piece. Minor age wear is typical and to be expected for antique and vintage jewelry. Unless otherwise stated, gemstones have not been officially graded for color, clarity, or treatment by GIA; any information provided is our own educated, professional assessment.