I'll admit it- I was born with a 'collector' gene. First rocks, then coins, stamps, and various other smaller collections of stickers, crafts supplies, shells, etc... As an adult, I try to reign in my collector gene, but at times it overwhelms me and I can't help myself. Ebay is NOT my friend. I remember the early days of Ebay when you actually had to communicate with the seller to figure out payment, shipping, etc... Well lately I've been dabbling in the collection of these old Italian micro-mosaics. Probably because I love doing my own seed-beed mosaics, I look to these for inspiration and amazement. Of course, some are more collectable than others....
These were some of the first ones I bought. The lower ones are about the size of a quarter. You can see I loved the daisy theme with the blue background. The piece on the front right has the smallest little pieces- it's amazing.
I also couldn't resist this bracelet of rectangular panels. It's a bit big, but yes, I've worn it!
The bracelet even has a 'Roma' tile- Rome. To be honest, these were made for the tourist trade in Italy. You can find some cheapo micro-mosaics for $20 or even less. The most artistic micro-mosaics were of specific scenes, whereas these are more decorative, and not very expensive.
The middle piece here of course drew me in doubly- one for the daisy theme in the center, and another for the amazing architectural scenes on either side. The top piece has more of those architectural scenes. This style was known as 'Tour of Italy' for obvious reasons, and the prices were a step above the other more common micro-mosaics. Some pieces were even set in gold and sell for thousands of dollars, some tens of thousands.
While not museum quality, these 'Tour of Italy' pieces certainly are mighty appealing to a lot of collectors, and fetch prices in the 100's per piece. I like to think of them as the 'mid-range' as the museum-quality pieces are certainly out of my budget!
If you're interested in seeing more, consider these books (another investment- I hope to own them one day!)