The ancient technique of pietra dura was revived in Italy in the sixteenth century and subsequently spread through Europe and flourished well through the 1800s.
Pieces of variously shaped and colored marbles as well as precious and semi-precious stones were inlaid and placed into patterns on vases, furniture, and jewelry. Landscapes and even portraits were sometimes rendered using this technique.
According to jewelry expert Christie Romero, a bed of black marble was used as the foundation for these Florentine hardstone mosaics which usually displayed floral motifs. Frequently purchased unmounted by wealthy Victorian era tourists on holiday or tour and brought back to Paris or London where they were transformed into jewelry such as the locket presented here.
A pietra dura mosaic of springs of flowers and leaves is displayed in a neutral palette against a background of inky marble. Open and budded lilies of the valley of glistening white join five-petaled ivory flowers and leaves.
Two and three-color leaves and golden stems add to the mix. Stellar and ornate wire work and granulation surround the four oval mosaics in splendor, all in backdrop off 14k yellow gold in these Victorian earrings.