Joe’s Special Box – Volume 28

Joden Girl

Baubles, Bling, and A Collector’s Things

Occasionally, we stumble across a piece that isn’t just lovely, but also really clever – usually the ingenuity is mechanical.  Some of our baubles move…   a twist, a turn and sometimes a flip!

This is one such item…  You can see how it pivots within its decorative frame.  It’s a brooch…  featuring not one but two famous structures; the Colosseum and the Vatican.


The wearer is able to flip back and forth between the two pictures!  Closer inspection reveals yet another spectacular element…

Each scene is a micro mosaic – thousands of pieces of glass (called tessarae) are inlaid to create the masterpiece.  The fragments were cut from long rods of opaque glass and were then painstakingly arranged into a pattern on a sheet of copper or gold.  Any gaps were filled with colored wax.  Finally, the entire surface was polished bringing a finished look to the design.  

Most micro mosaics were made in Rome during the mid to late 1800’s and used as souvenirs for travelers.   They fell out of fashion at the end of the 19th century, but the market has recently seen a resurgence of interest in these rare beauties.  Those in near perfect condition command a higher price, like the one pictured here.  Not a single tesserae is missing from either scene…  and when I rub my thumb across the top, it’s almost impossible to detect any gaps or seams.  Indeed, it feels like one solid expanse.  Simply amazing.  Available now for just $12,800.

“You can go to a museum and look, or come to Joden and touch.”

Photos and writing by Carrie Martin

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