Mosaic Necklace

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Object Name: 
Mosaic Necklace
Accession Number: 
2015.3.10 A
Overall L (open): 48.5 cm, W: 7 cm, D: about 0.3 cm
On Display
about 1850-1899
Web Description: 
This demi-parure is composed of Hellenistic and Roman mosaic glass fragments secured in open-backed cusped settings and framed in twisted wirework. The matching suite consists of a necklace, two earrings, and two lace pins which were either used to confine a length of lace at the neckline or throat, or used to attach drapery at the shoulder. Italian archeological discoveries of the mid-nineteenth century often included glass, metal and jewelry. The growing interest in these newly discovered artifacts inspired the forms, ornamentation, techniques, and materials used by Italian jewelry designers of the period. Ancient jewelry and archeological-style jewelry became popular with increasingly affluent tourists, and pieces set with micro-mosaics, pietre dure panels, and shell cameos were typical souvenir jewelry. Additionally, large collections of fragmentary ancient glass, including Roman and Hellenistic mosaic glass, were formed during these archaeological excavations. Fragments were often re-polished and wrapped in cardboard mounts with gilded edges to be displayed as precious gems and cameos, set into smaller objects like paperweights, inset into furniture inlays, or, as demonstrated by this demi-parure, reused in jewelry design. Archaeological revival style jewelry was part of the Victorian infatuation with archaeological discoveries, the classical past, and of course, contemporary fashion trends. This demi-parure, for example, would have not only been a beautiful addition to one’s jewelry collection, but would have indicated the wearer’s good taste, in addition to her familiarity with classical antiquity.
Wartski, Source
Cheffins Auctioneers, Former Collection
Primary Description: 
Mosaic Necklace. Polished Hellenistic or Roman mosaic glass fragments (100 B.C. to A.D. 50.), gilded base metal mounts; assembled. Necklace with central circlet composed of 24 ancient mosaic glass fragments in a variety of colors, all mounted in open-backed cusped settings and framed in twisted wirework. These 24 mounted glass elements connect to one another with small metal links. 16 additional mounted glass elements suspend from five centrally located fragments form diamond-shaped pendants. Each of these five focal points is attached to one another, and to the central circlet, with thin metal chains that gently drape across the neck of the wearer, drawing attention to the front of the necklace and visually unifying the piece. The clasp, hidden from initial sight under a glass element, is located at the back of the central circlet.
The Fine Art Sale (2011-11-23) Lot 293;