The mosaic is an integral part of Rome culture, since Romans used it
to decorate walls and floors of their villas, tables tops and other items.
This tradition was handed down to the following centuries until XVIII, period in which increased the need of preserving the pictorial works, reproducing them with the mosaic technique to avoid their destruction caused by the moisture. Only at the half of XVIII century that the “Vatican Study of Mosaic”, better known as “Saint Peter’s Reverend Mill”, discovered a new kind of mosaic made with the same techniques of the classical Roman mosaic but made with the little tiles in spuned oxides of enamel, considerably small and tiny compared to the old tiles made with stone or marble.
To have an idea of the size difference between these two types of mosaic, we can consider the dimension of a classic mosaic tile in stone (approximately 1cm/side in section) and a micromosaic one (about 0,1mm/side in section).
History of micromosaic in jewelry
Wearing Micromosaic Jewellery became popular during the Grand Tour period (17th – 19th century), when the members of rich European families would travel around Europe discovering and acquiring from different cultures.
In those times, Italy was a very popular tourist spot that had a long and prestigious history in arts and culture, subjects that were really appreciated in aristocratic circles.
Italy was also a famous glass producer, making possible for canny Italian craftsmen to turn quickly their glass-making skills into the new ability of producing stunning micromosaic miniatures for their rich foreign visitors, usually depicting famous Italian landmarks as the Coliseum or the Vatican Square, but even the Roman Mythology; the richest tourists would commission their own micromosaics, preferring Art timepieces or animals subjects.
The small size of this crafts was appealing since they could be worn on the Grand Tour continuous journey, or sent back home to the beloved ones as a harbinger of modern postcards.