What’s It Worth? Mosaic Jewelry And The Grand Tour

During the early to mid 20th century, most people of means who went on the grand European tour brought back from Italy a small pin, sculpture, or ring made of so-called “mini mosaics.”

Mini mosaics have been an Italian mainstay in décor and architecture for hundreds of years. The jewelry is painstakingly made with hundreds to thousands of tiny stones inlaid by an artisan to create a scene often depicting Roman ruins or other aspects of Italian art and history.

Inexpensive mini mosaics can bring as little as $5, but more elaborate pieces can be worth hundreds or even tens of thousands of dollars. Typically, the tinier the pieces and the more elaborate the scene, the higher the value.. Tiffany famously sold necklace, bracelet, earring and ring sets in filled boxes for tens of thousands of dollars.

The diamond piece (a) is a 200-year-old micro mosaic recently repurposed by a pop-art artisan in a diamond and gold frame. It has a value of $1,000 to $2,000. (We at Hess Fine Art prefer mosaics in their original state and frames, but we understand why people repurpose them.) Mini mosaic pieces made of nonprecious metals with larger “puzzle pieces” like the group of four shown here (b) are worth $5 to $10 each. The 18k gold quatrefoil (c) is worth $300 d to $500. The milkmaid brooch (d) is a museum piece and would likely fetch $10,000 to $20,000 at auction.

Whether you are a jeweler, dealer, or private citizen, we want to bid on your Italian mosaic.

JEFF HESS, Owner & Appraiser

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