Castellani Jewelry - Artful Innovations and the Most Famous Bracelet in the World

Castellani was a famous Roman goldsmith who not only crafted new jewelry, started new trends and also celebrated antiquities. Many of his pieces were inspired by antique jewelry from Egypt, some were even carefully crafted with the Egyptian jewelry serving as the centerpiece of his new piece of jewelry. This designer was more than just a goldsmith, he celebrated his predecessors and went on to design the most famous bracelet of all time.

Castellani's Jewelry Mark

Ironically if you look at the mark of Castellani jewelry with its back to back C's, the mark is reminiscent of another famous design - Coco Chanel.

Why the Strong Celebration of Egyptian Jewelry?

Castellani was renown for celebrating Egyptian jewelry. One of his clients was Henry Layard who excavated ancient Assyria.

Intaligios Castellani Bracelet Circa 1860

yellow gold bracelet with intaligios Castellani circa 1860
yellow gold bracelet with intaligios Castellani circa 1860 | Source

Fortunato Pio Castellani (1794-1865)

Started the trend called “revivalist” jewelry - hand crafted pieces that took inspiration from the art and architecture of ancient civilizations

"Castellani also incorporated intaglios, cameos and mosaics of carved gemstones and bright enamel, creating stunning works of art treasured by royalty, artists and collectors."

source: http://www.beladora.com

Castellani's Bracelet Designs

Castellani's designs were light years ahead. In fact, in many respects Castellani was more than a goldsmith, more than an artisan, he was an inventor with an eye to design.

He is credited throughout history as an innovator of art. He crafted some of the world's most important pieces of jewelry crafted with an ancient technique of micro mosaic. He then combined it with gold lettering and the technique was called Tessarae. Don't take my word for it, hear firsthand from renown historians who detail the contribution made by Castellani and his staff.

Castellani - Famous Italian Goldsmith

Fortunato Pio Castellani (1794-1865) was a Roman goldsmith

Castellani Bracelets

Click thumbnail to view full-size
CASTELLANI Gold BraceletCASTELLANI Reversible Gold and Gemset BraceletCastellani braceletInspired Castellani charm bracelet - inspired by a necklace from the Castellani family reproduction Castellani bracelet in lapis and seed pearlsgold braceletgold bracelet by Castellani15 kt yellow gold flexible Castellani bracelet featuring fantastic milgraining and wonderful rich blue enameling.bangle bracelet has fifty one seed pearls in 15 ct gold by Castellaniamethyst bracelet in 15 ct gold by CastellnaiScarab Bracelet designed by Castellani
CASTELLANI Gold Bracelet
CASTELLANI Gold Bracelet | Source
CASTELLANI Reversible Gold and Gemset Bracelet
CASTELLANI Reversible Gold and Gemset Bracelet | Source
Castellani bracelet
Castellani bracelet | Source
Inspired Castellani charm bracelet - inspired by a necklace from the Castellani family
Inspired Castellani charm bracelet - inspired by a necklace from the Castellani family | Source
reproduction Castellani bracelet in lapis and seed pearls
reproduction Castellani bracelet in lapis and seed pearls
gold bracelet
gold bracelet | Source
gold bracelet by Castellani
gold bracelet by Castellani | Source
15 kt yellow gold flexible Castellani bracelet featuring fantastic milgraining and wonderful rich blue enameling.
15 kt yellow gold flexible Castellani bracelet featuring fantastic milgraining and wonderful rich blue enameling.
bangle bracelet has fifty one seed pearls in 15 ct gold by Castellani
bangle bracelet has fifty one seed pearls in 15 ct gold by Castellani | Source
amethyst bracelet in 15 ct gold by Castellnai
amethyst bracelet in 15 ct gold by Castellnai
Scarab Bracelet designed by Castellani
Scarab Bracelet designed by Castellani | Source

Castellani - Innovators of Art

1870 and 1880 in, what is called, the Castellani's "Periodo Moderno", a period in which Castellani's master goldsmith and designer Michelangelo Caetani, was strongly focussed on designing micro mosaic jewelry with Greek and Latin text.


t singlehandedly created the “archeological” jewelry craze that remained popular throughout the 19th century

"A key motivation for the Castellani interest in reviving the styles and techniques of the ancient Romans and Etruscans was the rising nationalism that would soon lead to a united Italy. In accordance with their political beliefs, the Castellani were genuinely committed to promoting the cultural significance of Italy at a time when French and English taste predominated."

See more at: http://www.macklowegallery.com/education.asp/art+nouveau/Artist+Biographies/antiques/Jewelry+Artists/education/Castellani/id/28#sthash.g2gU3qiJ.dpuf

"One of the distinguishing characteristics of the 19th century was a reverence for the past. This was the age of the Grand Tour, when the popular imagination was sparked by visions of antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance as the refined upper classes returned home bursting with information and purchases from their trips abroad. In Italy, ancient gold Etruscan jewelry was turning up in excavations, and society women were captivated by its beauty. Roman jeweler and art dealer Fortunato Pio Castellani saw his opportunity and swiftly presented the public with an easy alternative to the ancient by developing a chemical method to reproduce the warm, deep yellow tones of the ancient gold."

For three generations the Castellani family created what they called “Italian archaeological jewelry,” - See more at: http://www.macklowegallery.com/education.asp/art+nouveau/Artist+Biographies/antiques/Jewelry+Artists/education/Castellani/id/28#sthash.g2gU3qiJ.dpuf

Micro Mosiac Jewelry

Click thumbnail to view full-size
close up view of a micro mosiac jewelry process called tessaraemicro mosiac jewelry by Castellani  1870 and 1880 in, what is called, the Castellani's "Periodo Moderno", a period in which Castellani's master goldsmith and designer Michelangelo Caetani, was strongly focussed on designing micro mosaic jewelry with sample of micro mosiac jewelrymicromosiac bracelet by Castellani Designed as four circular blue micromosaic panels reading 'ROMA' ('AMOR' in reverse), to the gold spacers and plaited chain, circa 1860, 18.6 cm.  Cs maker's mark for Castellani
close up view of a micro mosiac jewelry process called tessarae
close up view of a micro mosaic jewelry process called tessarae
micro mosiac jewelry by Castellani  1870 and 1880 in, what is called, the Castellani's "Periodo Moderno", a period in which Castellani's master goldsmith and designer Michelangelo Caetani, was strongly focussed on designing micro mosaic jewelry with
micro mosiac jewelry by Castellani 1870 and 1880 in, what is called, the Castellani's "Periodo Moderno", a period in which Castellani's master goldsmith and designer Michelangelo Caetani, was strongly focussed on designing micro mosaic jewelry with | Source
sample of micro mosiac jewelry
sample of micro mosiac jewelry | Source
micromosiac bracelet by Castellani Designed as four circular blue micromosaic panels reading 'ROMA' ('AMOR' in reverse), to the gold spacers and plaited chain, circa 1860, 18.6 cm.  Cs maker's mark for Castellani
micromosiac bracelet by Castellani Designed as four circular blue micromosaic panels reading 'ROMA' ('AMOR' in reverse), to the gold spacers and plaited chain, circa 1860, 18.6 cm. Cs maker's mark for Castellani

Micro Mosaic Method Demonstrated

Micro Mosiac Jewelry - Tessarae

The famous Castellani bracelet is made of a jewelry process called "tessarae" which essentially is a micro mosaic process that is overlayed around a gold letter. So what exactly is "tessarae"?

Tessarae

Tessarae is "a small block of stone, tile, glass, or other material used in the construction of a mosaic."

A few of the antique and vintage pieces are shown to the right. The close up views allows you to see the fine details and richness that this complicated process affords. The result is a classic design with a rich texture comprised of the mosaic with color and with gold. Distinctive yet classic. Bold yet elegant. A timeless treasure that sadly is rarely offered. A timeless treasure that is rarely seen. A treasure that is a testament to the European craftsman.

Latin Phrase - I Will Never Give Up On You - You Will Never Give Up On Me



"NON RELINQUAM means, I will never give up on you.
NON RELINQUES means, you will never give up on me."

Inscription on the Italian bracelet - double-sided.

Great Love

One of the many beautiful items about the Castellani bracelet is beyond the physical beauty of the bracelet and the love story behind its commission. The bracelet actually says in Latin a promise - a strong promise of love and commitment. The saying does not promise unconditional love, it does more than that - it promises to always to there for one another. What could be more significant than this statement? What could possibly be more beautiful than this simple sentiment of true love and commitment?

Other Castellani Pieces Denoting Love

The famous red Castellani bracelet is not the only piece designed by Castellani, designed to celebrate love, the Moth necklace is another beautiful example. Albeit less famous, the Moth necklace continues to showcase the talent of Castellani design and workmanship.

Moth Necklace in Micromosiac by Castellani

Moth Necklace Crafted in Micro Mosaic

"This Castellani necklace was commissioned in 1872 to mark the engagement of Turin noblewoman Carina Gamba. The pendant, referred to as a “bulla” (a hollow pendant introduced by the Etruscans, and possibly used to hold a protective amulet), is hinged at the top and decorated with granulation and wirework. At the center is an extremely fine micromosaic of a moth, a symbol of the soul."

1875 Castellani Bracelet I will not give up - You will not give up

Famous Castellani Bracelet Gold Lettering Encased in Red Micro Mosaic called Tessarae
Famous Castellani Bracelet Gold Lettering Encased in Red Micro Mosaic called Tessarae | Source

Lady Enid Layard's Jewelry Resides at the British Museum

When Henry Layard married Enid, he was 52 years old. He had excavated Assyria and commissioned several pieces crafted from some of the seals he had excavated to be re-purposed into jewelry for his new wife. Her pieces of fine jewelry, many of which were made by Castellani reside at the British Museum.

Resident of residence of Lord Austen Henry Layard

Ca' Cappello-Layard overlooking the Grand Canal - home of Lord Henry Layard and Lady Layard
Ca' Cappello-Layard overlooking the Grand Canal - home of Lord Henry Layard and Lady Layard

Ladies Who Received the Castellani Bracelet

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Lady Enid Layardbust of Lady Layard from the British MuseumThe Princesse de Broglie.Gwendolyn Talbot, Princesse Borgheze
Lady Enid Layard
Lady Enid Layard | Source
bust of Lady Layard from the British Museum
bust of Lady Layard from the British Museum
The Princesse de Broglie.
The Princesse de Broglie. | Source
Gwendolyn Talbot, Princesse Borgheze
Gwendolyn Talbot, Princesse Borgheze | Source

Dr. Jackson Jewelry Interview on Roman Goldsmith Castellani

"The Princesse de Broglie died of consumption at the age of thirty-five. Her bereaved husband kept this portrait behind draperies in perpetual tribute to her memory. It remained in the family until shortly before it was acquired by Robert Lehman and retains the original, ornately carved frame that Ingres himself selected."

Other Delights by Castellani

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Castellani pearl ringCastellani lattice ring18 ct gold necklaceCastellani broochArcheological Revival "Bacchus" pendant attributed to Castellan
Castellani pearl ring
Castellani pearl ring
Castellani lattice ring
Castellani lattice ring
18 ct gold necklace
18 ct gold necklace | Source
Castellani brooch
Castellani brooch | Source
Archeological Revival "Bacchus" pendant attributed to Castellan
Archeological Revival "Bacchus" pendant attributed to Castellan | Source

Princesse de Bogali

 Princesse de Bogali
Princesse de Bogali

Milan Mansion Slated to Open to the Public Spring 2015

The mansion that houses the Princesse de Bogal's bracelet will be open to the public beginning Spring 2015.

This will serve to put two of the three bracelets on public display.

Three Commissions Actually Crafted

Five bracelets were reported on the books, however, only three bracelets were ever crafted.

"The third was commissioned for Princesse de Bogali of Milan by her husband. The Princesse died thirteen years prior to having the bracelet made. As an eternal expression of his love, he paid Castellani three times the value of the bracelet to never make another. He installed a portrait of his wife and the bracelet in an empty room in his home in Milan to honor her memory. That room is still kept intact as he left it by their descendants."

Location of the Female Recipients of the Castellani Bracelet

show route and directions
A markerLady Layard Ninevah Assyria -
Assyria: Nineveh, London WC1B, UK
[get directions]

B markerMilan, Italy -
Milan, Italy
[get directions]

C markerBorghese, Italy -
Borghese Palace, Via dell'Arancio, 00186 Rome, Italy
[get directions]

5 Pieces Commissioned - 3 Created

Person Bracelet Was Commission For
Country of Origin
Location/Ownership
1. Lady Enid Layard
1. United Kingdom
British Museum, London, UK
2. Gwendolyn Talbot, Princesse Borghese.
2. Italy
Jackie Kennedy
3. Princesse de Bogali of Milan
3 Italy
Milan, Italy (open to the public beginning Spring 2015)

Have you heard of or seen this bracelet before?

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My Story - My Indulgence

I had heard about this bracelet for years. I had seen it dozens of times and yet somehow it didn't appeal to me from afar. I delayed and delayed. I finally convinced myself as the mold for the bracelet was being destroyed that this was a piece of history that I must own.

Then a remarkable thing happened, the bracelet arrived and to my surprise, the bracelet is simply magical. It has a weight and texture to it unlike anything I have ever seen. Television does not do justice to the micro mosaic called Tessarae. The bracelet is stunning. It makes any tennis bracelet look boring - trust me this bracelet is a show stopper. And to think I purchased it for its history! To my delight this is my favorite piece of all my Jackie Kennedy replica pieces. Like Layard, I would have paid three times the amount for the bracelet - although my budget is three digits and at that low three digits at under $100.

© 2014 Kelly Kline Burnett

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10 comments

tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 2 years ago from California

Gorgeous jewelry. Well worth reading about its history.


GmaGoldie profile image

GmaGoldie 2 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin Author

Tirelesstraveler,

Leave it to you to appreciate the history of Italy and it's fine craftsmanship and artisans - Roman goldsmiths.

I greatly appreciate your talents and insights.I hope to be able to travel to Italy in the near future.

Thank you so much!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

What an interesting hub about the history of Castellani jewelry and some of the ladies in history who wore pieces of it. Those photos show off the elegance and detailed work beautifully. Enjoyed this! Sharing with my followers.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

Such beautifully crafted jewelry! You presented the history of Castellani and his jewelry very well in an excellent hub.


GmaGoldie profile image

GmaGoldie 2 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin Author

Peggy W,

Oh, you are so right, these pieces are elegant. I find them to be true art but I am an avid admirer of Italian art of most any kind - houses, architecture, paintings and of course jewelry.

The history of the jewelry I find fascinating - imagine the wonderful women who were chosen to have these pieces gifted to them? I want to learn more.

I cannot wait until the historic home in Milan opens - I so wish to visit and see the bracelet firsthand and compare with my beautiful "re-creation"! Notice, it is not an imitation - a re-creation - a celebration of the original piece of art.


GmaGoldie profile image

GmaGoldie 2 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin Author

Phyllis Doyle,

Oh, I how I love jewelry let me count the many ways and then to be able to add in history and then my love of Italian art - oh, be still my heart! Thank you so much! You have a plethora history that I wish to read - so glad you stopped by and I had a chance to say hello.


favored profile image

favored 17 months ago from USA

I feel so out of the loop never hearing of this designer or the jewelry. What a fascinating story and photos depicting the history of the famous bracelet. So glad I visited. Thumbs up!


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 16 months ago from California

Wow--these are gorgeous!


GmaGoldie profile image

GmaGoldie 15 months ago from Madison, Wisconsin Author

Hi Favored,

You are not out of the loop - this is more of a European designer. I love history and of course jewelry history is near and dear to my heart. Perhaps I picked this up from my husband who is a car history aficionado.


GmaGoldie profile image

GmaGoldie 15 months ago from Madison, Wisconsin Author

AudreyHowitt,

I love art and these pieces are simply wearable art! They are my favorite but alas my checkbook is not in alignment.

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