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How a Roman Jeweler Is Keeping the Painstaking Art of Micromosaics Alive

A look at Roman native Maurizio Fioravanti's detailed process for creating these intricate jeweled pieces.

Maurizio Fioravant Vamguard Maurizio Cogliandro

Long before graphic tees and novelty cups sullied the memorabilia market, micromosaics were the original must-have Italian souvenir. They took off in the 18th century when a few enterprising mosaicists employed by the Vatican found that Grand Tour-ing aristos, including Napoleon and Catherine the Great, would pay top dollar for miniature re-creations of the tiled masterpieces seen at the papal pile—a kind of proto-photo. In the centuries since, such skilled practitioners have all but vanished and micromosaics have become a rarity seldom seen outside of antiques shops.

Growing up in Rome, Maurizio Fioravanti collected ancient bits of marble and toyed with the idea of fashioning them into small-scale artworks. Thirty years later, he is one of the few contemporary micromosaicists. Entirely self-taught, Fioravanti combines old-world techniques with cutting-edge materials for Vamgard, a jewelry collection he launched in 2015. Because of the painstaking work that goes into each design, Fioravanti creates fewer than 10 pieces annually—making his mosaics more precious than many gems.

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