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  • Place of origin:

    Rome (made)

  • Date:

    1855 - ca. 1900 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Castellani (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    gold, with micromosaic of coloured glass and gold

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the American Friends of the V&A through the generosity of Judith H. Siegel

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 22, shelf A, box 8 []

Castellani, already established as the pre-eminent makers of historicist jewellery in Rome, made their first jewels with mosaics depicting Christian symbols in the mid-1850s. This bracelet, of which a number of versions are known, belongs to a group which made prominent use of Greek and Latin inscriptions, of which some were inspired by epitaphs engraved on the tombs of early Christians in the catacombs in Rome. The inscriptions in the mosaics by Castellani are often outlined in gold wire, a technique not used on the earlier micromosaics made in Rome in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Judy Rudoe has pointed out that in the panel in this bracelet depicting a boat each of the tiny heads is a single tessera (piece of glass) cut from a millefiori cane.

Physical description

Gold bracelet mounted with six hexagonal mosaic panels of Christian symbols and monograms. From the left: Greek characters (Iota, Chi, Theta, Upsilon, Sigma) spelling 'ichthus', 'fish'; a dove representing the Holy Spirit; a Chi-Rho monogram for the name of Christ, with the Greek letters Alpha and Omega; a ship containing the faithful, symbol of the early church; Greek characters arranged around a central Omega to make the words for 'light' and 'life'; an anchor-cross with two fish. The panels all have plain gold backs with a hexagonal frame around the Castellani mark in relief of two interlocking Cs, placed back-to-back.

Place of Origin

Rome (made)


1855 - ca. 1900 (made)


Castellani (maker)

Materials and Techniques

gold, with micromosaic of coloured glass and gold

Object history note

Probably made between 1855 and about 1900, but the firm's shop did not close until 1927.

Descriptive line

Gold bracelet mounted with six mosaic panels of Christian symbols and monograms, Castellani, Rome, 1855 - ca. 1900.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Rudoe, Judy. 'Micromosaics and their sources.' In: Soros, Susan Weber and Walker, Stefanie, eds, Castellani and Italian Archaeological Jewelry. New Haven and London: published for the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design and Culture, New York, by Yale University Press. pp. 153-178


Gold; Glass


Jewellery; Metalwork; Christianity


Metalwork Collection

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