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March 2013

If small is beautiful, it is no surprise that collectors have always been dazzled by micromosaics. The technique, which dates back to Roman times, involves the use of tiny pieces of coloured glass to build up into decorative pictures. In its finest form there can be as many as 500 pieces used per square centimetre.

From the eighteenth century the micromosaic was popular for collectors on the grand tours of Italy and Europe. Items such as boxes and jewellery were decorated with replica scenes from Renaissance pictures and buildings, as well as tour destinations such as the Coliseum or Vatican square. These exquisite works could be easily transported and added to collections back home as gifts or memories of the trip. The wearing of micromosaic jewellery also became fashionable in the Victorian period, with floral scenes being the most popular.

Today the use of the internet and online catalogues has greatly assisted collectors in their quest for new acquisitions. Even the smallest items are again travelling around the world to the delight of their new owners.

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