Saturday, January 25, 2014

Object of the Day, Museum Edition: An Italian Micromosaic and Gold Diadem, 1840

Italian, 1840
Gold, Glass
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Made in 1840, this masterpiece of gold and glass micromosaic has been made in a traditional Roman style and depicts a scene of Roman ruins—a popular subject worldwide during that era. There’s some debate as to the origin of the piece as a while. The gold and mosaic work is clearly Italian, however, some feel that the diadem itself was assembled into its present form in France.

Using only the smallest pieces of colored glass, the medallion centerpiece of the tiara contains more than 5000 pieces of glass per square inch. A diadem such as this would have been worn atop a lady’s upswept hair. This particular piece would have been an interesting visual contrast to the many pieces of diamonds and gemstones which dominated the time period and would have caused the wearer to stand out from the crowd like a Roman goddess. 

The Reverse (showing the unfortunately-placed Museum Item Number)

The diadem retains its original presentation case.

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