Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Every Jewel Has Story - Collection of Italian Micro Mosaics

I love to travel - both overseas and within the United States.  But one of my favorite places in the world is Italy.  I love the culture, the food, the gelato, the architecture and the art.  Truly, there is really nothing that I don't love about Italy.  I have been there a couple of times and I would love to go back again.  I've even learned a little Italian over the years (not enough to be fluent, but I'm still working on it!).  One of the things that I have always loved about Italy - even before I had ever visited - are micro mosaics.


How amazing is the Colosseum?
Trust me, it's even more amazing when you are dwarfed standing next to it!

So I had vowed that when I finally got the chance to take my first trip to Italy that I would buy my own micro mosaics.  My first trip to Italy was shortly after The Mr. proposed.  We went to Rome for 11 days and did everything every tourist does.  But, I met my goal!  I did what Victorian tourists did before me, I bought a stunning little Italian micro mosaic brooch that I would use in my wedding bouquet and little pill box that, to this day, I still keep my diamond stud earrings in.


Although it is obvious that I love micro mosaics, the special one that I purchased on our trip to Rome is
the small, bright blue floral one next to the little red Hershey kiss pin.  Each pin in my bouquet means something
special to me but that pin reminds me of an amazing trip with an amazing person.

The term "micro mosaic" was initially coined by a wealthy 20th-century collector Sir Arthur Gilbert in reference to the Roman mosaics composed of little glass bricks called tesserae. Each micro mosaic can be packed with anywhere from 1,500 to 5,000 pieces per square inch and was sold as fine jewelry to Victorian ladies in the early and mid-19th century when the tourism trade blossomed in Rome.


This little micro mosaic pill box is daily storage for my diamond studs.  I bought it just a few steps
down from Vatican City & St. Peter's Basilica.

And in every part of Italy, you can find some stunning micro mosaic works still to this day.  Several years later, I returned to Rome and the Tuscan region of Italy with my Mom and my Uncle.  And, of course, I bought even more micro mosaics.  This time, I bought a stunning sterling silver micro mosaic cross in Assisi just one alley down from the monastery that Saint Francis of Assisi founded.  Both my Mom and my Uncle also bought some cute little crosses for their granddaughters.  


My little sterling silver micro mosaic cross from Assisi, Italy.

Not only do I love micro mosaics from an artistic and craftsmanship perspective but also from the sentimental side.  The ones that I've collected over the course of my trips to Italy bring back those special memories for me.  And my collection of vintage pieces are a tie to history for me.  They connect me to the people who have gone on their own 'Grand Tour' before me.


A little micro mosaic frame from my vintage collection.  At about only two inches tall, it's really just
cute.  And this photo is from the night The Mr. popped the question on Christmas Eve.


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