This is a beautiful antique Italian black marble rectangular Pietra Dura paperweight, with chamfered corners.
It is inlaid with a stunning patchwork cross made of semi precious stones within a striking malachite borderwith chamfered corners
In excellent condition with only minor signs of wear commensurate with age and use.
Dimensions in cm:
Height 3 x Width 11 x Depth 7
Dimensions in inches:
Height 1.2 x Width 4.3 x Depth 2.8
Malachite is an opaque, green banded mineral. It is believed to be a strong protector of children. It protects the wearer from accidents and protects travellers. Malachite has been used to aid success in business and protect against undesirable business associations. It is a stone of balance in relationships.
Malachite is always green, usually in banded tones varying from very dark green to a mellow green. Most malachite comes from Zaire, Chile and Australia.
Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans used malachite for jewellery and ground it to use as eye shadow. It is used in amulets to protect against the evil eye. In the Middle Ages it was used to protect children from witches and other dangers.
Pietra dura is a term for the inlay technique of using cut and fitted, highly polished coloured stones to create images. It is considered a decorative art.
Pietre dure is an Italian plural meaning “hard rocks” or hardstones; the singular pietra dura is also encountered in Italian. In Italian, but not in English, the term embraces all gem engraving and hardstone carving, which is the artistic carving of three-dimensional objects in semi-precious stone, normally from a single piece, for example in Chinese jade.
The traditional convention in English has been to use the singular pietra dura just to denote multi-colored inlay work. However, in recent years there has been a trend to use pietre dure as a term for the same thing, but not for all of the techniques it covers, in Italian.
But the title of a 2008 exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Art of the Royal Court: Treasures in Pietre Dure from the Palaces of Europe used the full Italian sense of the term, probably because they thought that it had greater brand recognition. The material on the website speaks of objects such as a vase in lapis lazuli as being examples of “hardstone carving (pietre dure)”
The Victoria & Albert Museum in London uses both versions on its website, but uses pietra dura. “A method of inlaying coloured marbles or semi-precious stones into a stone base, often in geometric or flower patterns….”
Giovanni Montelatici (1864-1930) was an Italian Florentine artist whose brilliant work has been distributed across the world by tourists and collectors. Owners of Giovanni’s work included Donald Trump.
Our reference: 09174