An art form handed down from the Ancient Romans, Pietra Dura (literally 'hard rocks') is the art of carving a hard stone background and inlaying small cuts of semi-precious stone to form a perfectly smooth design. Like little paintings, these plaques were hand made by craftsman who were masters of the art.
Pietra Dura, like micro-mosaics and cameos, were often brought back from Italy to England or other European countries as souvenirs of the 'Grand Tour'. Sometimes just the plaques were brought back and then mounted by a local jeweler, sometimes the jewelry was made in Italy and brought back whole. I'm not sure what the case is here, the frames are very finely done, but completely unmarked. They test as 18 karat gold and are done in a very robust Revivalist style. Most likely made around 1860-1870, they weigh 12.4 grams together.
Everything about these earrings is exceptional. The quality of the Pietra Dura is superb, the earrings are mirror images and so were meant to be earrings and are not made up from something else (which I often see). The tops are original, the condition is excellent, the design is classical and flattering and will go with just about any outfit. A guaranteed conversation starter!
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Item ID: ES0310205V
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