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Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Micromosaic Jewelry

by Kelly Rectenwald, Objects Conservator


objects conservation , CAMConservation , micromosaic jewelry , fashion

This week in objects conservation, we are working on several pieces of micromosaic jewelry made in Italy during the late-19th century. Italian artisans created the intricate designs on these brooches and earrings from tiny pieces of colored glass and metal, inlaid into a stone or metal support. Each one is an amazing work of art on a micro scale.

We brought these pieces into the lab to polish their metal components, clean the mosaic surfaces, and ensure all the tiny tesserae are stable. We treated each piece under the microscope to see all the details and components. My favorite detail is this butterfly on a pair of earrings. In the photo, taken at 10 times magnification, you can see each of the individual glass and metal pieces that were carefully placed to create the design.