Jewelry Development: What Is Micro-Mosaic Jewelry And How Is It Manufactured?

If any style of jewellery could get in touch with alone a real operate of art it would be the micro-mosaic. Painstakingly manufactured with the tiniest pieces of glass or enamel-like material termed tesserae, micro-mosaics can be manufactured working with gold, copper or black Belgian marble, and are influenced by mosaics, which date again extra than 2,000 yrs. Some of the greatest examples of mosaics have been excavated at archaeological websites from Ancient Rome and the Byzantine Empire. But as an art historian, what fascinates me is that micro-mosaics definitely took off to the conclusion of the 18th century and beginning of the 19th century.

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Started in Paris in 2012, L’École, College of Jewelry Arts is the initial school set up for the normal community to learn about the heritage, society and savoir-faire of the jewelry arts. We now have a 2nd everlasting residence at K11 Musea in Hong Kong, wherever two extraordinary examples of micro-mosaics are used in the course of 1 of our jewelry courses.

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These two examples originate from Rome throughout the early 19th century, which was the peak of micro-mosaic’s popularity. Very well-heeled aristocrats would journey all over Europe, and Italy had turn out to be a common tourist location. Regarded for their glass-creating abilities, Italian craftsmen started developing micro-mosaic jewellery as souvenirs, frequently depicting famous landmarks these kinds of as the not long ago rediscovered towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, which were wholly buried by the Mount Vesuvius eruption in Ad35. A superb instance of micro-mosaic from this time is on screen at the Louvre’s Galerie d’Apollon in Paris as portion of the French Crown Jewels. A fantastic parure, it was gifted by Napoleon Bonaparte to his bride, Marie Louise of Austria, grand-niece of Marie Antoinette.

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Micro-mosaics choose time and endurance, which is why it is so significant and tricky to keep this technique alive. In truth, one particular of L’École’s most recent yearly scholarships has been awarded to a scholar who is pursuing a master’s diploma with a aim on micro-mosaics. And the system carries on to inspire some of the world’s most influential large-finish jewellers. Van Cleef & Arpels’ Secret Environment, for instance, which was to start with utilised in 1933 so that a piece’s steel placing could not be viewed among gemstones, was motivated by micro-mosaics.

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Prior to we acquired the micro-mosaic bracelet and ring that are on screen at L’École, equally items were cautiously sourced and curated by our very own in-residence staff of jewellery historians. And whilst a jewel’s provenance makes it even additional unique, we however really do not know substantially about these beautiful illustrations of micro-mosaic. The bracelet depicts the Roman Discussion board, observed from the Campidoglio, as properly as a few identifiable monuments: the Septimius Severus Arch the Rostra columns and element of the Basilica Julia. What I adore about micro-mosaics is that they act as the creative equivalent of vacation shots. These days, we acquire a photo with our smartphone. Again then, you bought a micro-mosaic jewellery piece. What do you know? The extra matters transform, the extra things keep the exact.

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This is the next instalment of a series in which we question jewellery experts to weigh in on marketplace developments, innovation and additional. Inezita Homosexual-Eckel is an art historian for L’École, Faculty of Jewellery Arts, supported by Van Cleef & Arpels.

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