This elegant pair of micro-mosaic cufflinks date to the Grand Tour era of 1890. These cufflinks feature the classical landscape of the Italian leaning tower of Pisa, carefully rendered through laying down individual pieces of tesserae, or glass. The micro-mosaic part of these vintage cufflinks were probably once buttons, but later were converted into gentleman's cufflinks.
The Grand Tour was a form of tourism and an educational rite of passage popular during the Victorian era, especially among the British. It became pleasurable and important to physically visit works of art or architecture. Italy was a popular place and often depicted as a "picturesque place". At the completion of the Grand Tour it was tradition to purchase a portable object made by an Italian master, which was not only considered a work of art but also a souvenir.
The mosaics on the cufflinks show impeccable detail, and the craftsmanship is stunning. It's curious because they each depict the same landscape, but because pieces are individually placed by a master artist, by hand, the identical landscapes have lovely differences. Surrounding the micro-mosaic Pisa landscape is black polished onyx, which is in good condition and soft to the touch. The mosaics have been mounted onto 14 karat yellow gold links; these cufflinks are in great working condition, and date to the 1940's. The oval-shaped mosaics measure 7/16 of an inch and the 14 karat yellow gold cufflinks are 10/16 x 15/16 of an inch. Marked 14KT on the gold. The cufflinks weigh 9.4 grams.
A lovely European antique, these Grand Tour cufflinks make great souvenir or gift, and are a fantastic piece of history.