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Claire Brisby

Italian family of jewellers, collectors and writers. The firm founded in Rome by (1) Fortunato Pio Castellani shortly after 1820 and expanded by his sons (2) Alessandro Castellani and (3) Augusto Castellani was foremost in reviving period style in jewellery design. Their reputation was established in Rome by the mid-19th century, and they were renowned as antiquarians as much as jewellers and were consulted by museums in London, Paris and Vienna. After 1860 the Castellani opened shops in Paris and Naples; from 1862 until 1884 they exhibited regularly at international exhibitions, including the International Exhibition of 1862 in London, and their work remained virtually unaffected by subsequent stylistic developments. Designs were closely inspired by, and in some cases reproduced, antique and medieval pieces, often from their own considerable study collection. They were widely imitated throughout England, France, Italy and the USA. Their jewellery is notable for its use of gold; the family perfected processes for simulating the techniques of filigree and granulation used in antique jewellery. A variety of chainwork and hinged pieces with repoussé decoration are characteristic of the firm. Among their most popular designs were pieces ornamented with fine glass mosaic inspired by Byzantine jewellery (e.g. bracelet with white and gold mosaic, ...

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