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Thanks to this royal example, black jewelry became quite fashionable. Gallery view of ‘A Return to the Grand Tour’ showing butterfly micromosaics set in a box, ca 1775-1800, attributed to Giacomo Raffaelli, from the collection of Elizabeth Locke. It’s easy to understand why jewelry designer Elizabeth Locke fell in love with micromosaics while she was in the midst of a graduate project in Modern Italian Literature at the University of Florence.

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Her signature bold hammered 19K gold settings act as frames for the antiques.

The designer explains in the catalogue many mosaics she discovered were not set in jewels others she removed from their original settings for a reason.

The subjects in the micromosaics form the sections of the exhibition.

There are architectural highlights travelers would have enjoyed during their journey such as the Pantheon, the Roman Forum and the Coliseum.

Some of the micromosaics in the presentation are in jewels that date from the period.

The vast majority in the exhibit are shown in modern jewels by Elizabeth Locke.The delightful presentation and accompanying 118-page small catalogue that is truly a must have for jewelry lovers, gives a brief history of Locke’s experience and nice review of the history and techniques behind the creation of micromosaics.Gallery view of ‘A Return to the Grand Tour’ showing a 19th century micromosaic depicting set in an Elizabeth Locke gold brooch accented with aquamarines.Photo David Stover © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts centuries for well-heeled English travelers on the Grand Tour of Europe, the little creations were souvenirs.The tradition of shrinking down the mosaic concept tourists saw in the large works of art around Italy began in the Vatican Mosaic workshop.There was a time, deep in the recesses of the 3rd century BC, when master artisans worked on tiny pieces of glass paste – some the size of a pin’s head – painstakingly hand-assembling them into patterns of bouquets, birds, frescoes and monuments.

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