When mosaic becomes a jewel
The word mosaic normally conjures up images of large ceramic floors and walls decorated with multicoloured tiles. But visitors to Milan’s fashion district can now admire another side of mosaic art, that of jewellery. In an exclusive boutique located in Via della Spiga, Sicis showcases the results of the painstaking work of master mosaic artists specialising in the sophisticated technique of nano mosaic, protected by secure glass cases set amongst precious gold and platinum mosaics. Micromosaic jewellery is a very old technique dating back to the inauguration of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Once the work on the basilica had ended, the mosaic artists began to find themselves unemployed. So in the absence of large-scale works, they began producing miniature mosaics free from religious connotations. They began by decorating objects such as caskets, snuff boxes and ornaments and soon progressed to the creation of authentic jewels. The micromosaic works reproduced subjects ranging from rural images of people dressed in folk costumes to images of flowers and animals and the ruins of ancient Rome. During the nineteenth century the technique was further refined and achieved a high degree of realism by using matt glazes, minute glass strands or “filati” and the myriad shades of the so-called “malmischiati” (“coarse-mixed”) mosaics. As a result, micromosaic rapidly became popular throughout Europe. The now unlimited colour palette was capable of revealing the most subtle shifts of light.
Details such as flowers, leaves and animal fur could now be brought to life with extraordinary realism. Since then, mosaic jewels have seen a steady increase in quality, culminating in the recent opening of the first boutique devoted exclusively to micromosaic jewellery (Sicis Jewels) and timepieces (Sicis O’Clock). The walls and ceiling of the boutique’s entrance have been decorated using the Structura collection of mosaic panels formed from square pieces of mosaic with different thicknesses, sizes, colours and textures, making for an intriguing three-dimensional effect.
Fiber, the latest mosaic collection from Sicis, serves as the perfect backdrop to the jewellery. The tesserae come in different sizes and materials and can be square or thin, long and rectangular in shape, creating an elegant geometric cascade effect. The materials range from glass, mirror glass and marble through to platinum and gold. The lower level floor is tiled with the iconic Sicis collection Cosmati, consisting mainly of marble and natural stone. These prevalently geometric elements vary in colour, shade, shape and size and are designed in the tradition of one of the oldest families famous for the artisanal production of decorative marble floors.
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): compliant
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): compliant
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): compliant
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): compliant