Kirsten's Corner Jewelry
14K Gold Etruscan Revival Micro Mosaic Earrings with Onyx
This is a masterful pair of Etruscan Revival earrings featuring an architectural micro-mosaic of tesserae set in onyx. The depicted monument appears to be the Tranjan’s Column in Rome, and the earrings are originally a souvenir from a young Victorian man's "Grand Tour" trip. This was a coming of age tradition for young Victorian upperclass men to travel and study architecture and philosophy in Europe. They would would bring souvenirs home as a gift, such as these stunning earrings.
Micro mosaics are made using a painstaking technique that involves creating an image out of small pieces of opaque enamel glass called tesserae. The tiny mosaics were first developed in the second half of the 18th century by the Vatican Mosaic Workshop. By the 19th century, numerous independent studios devoted to the production of these small keepsakes were established to meet traveler’s demands for souvenirs.
The background to this mosaic is a black onyx tablet, which is bezel set and surrounded by 14k gold twisted wire. The twisted wire centerpiece measures 1 1/2” long by 1/2” wide, and both earrings are same size with slightly different building depictions on one of them. There is small craze in the black onyx along the side of one of the earrings. This is common for micro mosaics because of the delicate nature of onyx and the age of the piece. The back panels of onyx on both earrings is intact, free of cracks and the earrings are completely secure. The weight of both earrings together is 13.3 grams.
These incredible earrings should not be missed!
Circa 1880 Italy