Filippini & Paoletti Florence
Custom Jewelry and Religious Items

Made with Venetian Glass from Murano Island


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The History of Byzantine Mosaic in Florence:


Glass sheetsTo find the origins of Byzantine mosaics, we must go back to the times of Byzantium and the Roman Empire of the East. The first testimonies etist thanks to the Vatican State which, in founding the Veneranda Fabbrica di San Pietro, enabled mosaic art to take its own identity indipendently of painting. At the same time, a close link was mantained with the art of painting which had enabled mosaics, first in tessaera and later using more minute fragments, to develop.
Towards the end of the 18th century, artisans left the Vatican's Reverenda Fabbrica and brought the art of mosaics in Florence, where it found a fertile terrain for rapid growth. The existence of small workshops operated by mosaic artisans enabled this art to be passed on from generation to generation. Indeed, information testifying to the activities of an artisan's laboratory which would later become Filippini & Paoletti first appeared in the second half of the 19th century.

Special glass-melting ovenFilippini & Paoletti is now in its fourth generation. Alfonso Filippini, master goldsmith, and Vittorio Paoletti, who studied under a mosaic scholar of the period, decided to open up a laboratory in an old cellar in the historic centre to produce mosaic objects for the Florentine nobility and prosperous tourist of that era.
Some of the works dating back to this period, among which a Catholic cross of considerable value, are today on exhibition in the Vatican Museums.
Their sons, Ilario FIlippini and Giovanni Paoletti, followed in their footsteps. After thema came the grandchildren Paris Filippini and Ruggero Paoletti, who shifted the workshop to its current setting in Piazza Santo Spirito in 1947.
The first exports took place in the immediate post-war period, and since 1970 Ascanio Fei, Filippini's nephew, and Paolo Paoletti, flanked by their sons, are owners of the company, the most important manufacture of Byzantine mosaics.


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Our Production

Glowing glassThe mosaic articles are manufactured today exactely as they always have been. The glass sheets come from Murano where the highest qualities are producted. The sand still employed today to make the glass is rich in silicon and pure crystals to ensure uniquely vivid colours. In our Florentine workshop, a special oven is used to melt these sheets down. And it is at this stage that the artist's inspiration and experience enables him to match colours and mould the glass in different forms to design petals of roses, daisies, dablias, leaves, and so on. When the compound is all ready, it is "pulled" with special instruments to make several rods about 30 cm. in length. At this point, the true Byzantine mosaic workmanship begins. A layer of special fast-drying stucco capable of holding together the tiny pieces of glass is spread over the base of the object.

Glass rodsOnce the rods that will be used for the piece have been chosen, the artisan needs two instruments: a pair of pincers and a small saw. And so his work begins - cutting the rod with a clean strike, he removes the tiny pieces with the pincers and places them on the stucco. This continues until the entire surface is covered with ever tinier pieces from the glass rods, thus obtaining completely original designs.

Artisan at workThis procedure and these working methods have not changed in all this time and has passed on through the centuries from artisan to artisan, from father to son, thus achieving an art whose outstanding value is, as was recorded in letters of the 18th century,

"...that of preserving its colours in all its vividness without the fear that time's destructing touch on painting works can alter it in the slightest way."


Homepage | Our History | Production & Techniques »»» [日本語 Italiano ]
From Our Catalogue: Boxes & Frames | Custom Jewelry | Religious Items | Earrings
| Sterling 925 ‰
Contacts: Email us!