Just as painters use colored pigments to create their works, the time-honored Italian craft of micromosaics uses tiny pieces of colored glass to embellish decorative objects and jewels.
During the 17th to 19th centuries, young men from wealthy families would undertake an educational journey across Europe known as the Grand Tour, which could take years. In the absence of photographs, micromosaic depictions of the monuments and landscapes the travelers visited became popular souvenirs.
Following in the footsteps of its ancestors, Italian brand Sicis Jewels — which has its headquarters in Ravenna, the country’s mosaic capital — creates modern masterpieces with this technique.
Image: Setting the stones. (Sicis Jewels)
The first step is producing a high-temperature fusion of glass paste, then spinning it and cutting it into minuscule pieces called tesserae, which the master mosaicists apply with millimetric accuracy. If the mosaics we see in interior decoration are an exercise in precision and patience, says the company, micromosaics take these qualities to the extreme.
In a nutshell
Designer: Sicis Jewels
Made in: Italy
Craft time: Nearly six months (initial design, hand-carved wax model, 3D rendering, goldsmith manufacturing, micromosaic work)
Metal: White gold
Gemstones: White diamonds, black diamonds, grey diamonds, rubies, rubellite
Sicis often draws inspiration from nature and its creatures. In keeping with that theme, its new Damisa Ice necklace and ring — variations on pieces from its Damisa collection — celebrate the spirit of the leopard.
Unlike the flat plaques of traditional micromosaics, these jewels entailed hand-applying the tesserae along the three-dimensional curves of a leopard’s body, using lightly shaded pieces to render the animal’s lifelike fur.
The final products, which also feature two top-grade rubellite gems, are a testament not only to the brand’s micromosaic expertise, but its genius in transforming this centuries-old art into a tool for modern high-jewelry masterpieces.
This article is from the May-June 2023 issue of Rapaport Magazine. View other articles here.
Main image: The Damisa Ice set, part of Sicis Jewels’ Damisa collection. (Sicis Jewels)