Small crown - inv. 5381

Trapani, 19th century

Small crown
coral   brass  
2005 bequest Carlo Borgomaneri
Inv. 5381

Jewelry Room


 The crown was made in the second half of the nineteenth century in Trapani in the style known as "Flowers and Fruits" which is characterized by the incorporation of flower petals, berries and leaves made of Mediterranean coral on a light alloy and ductile metal structure. The creation of ramages in jewellery corresponds to a particular inclination towards a naturalism that, from the Exposition of 1851, became a European fashion with its peak in the third quarter of the century. This technique allowed both to recover of waste scrap from other creations in Mediterranean coral and to process separately the different parts which were then fixed on a frame. This was often made of brass with a percentage of zinc that made it easily malleable. In the Sicilian and torresi workshops in order to make the job faster and more precise, the master engravers, often women, were specialized in one type of processing and then another craftsman assembled the various parts, creating the object itself. The modular structure of the crown has, in this case, a composition of rose buds, daisies, flowers, leaves, small fruits and berries in Mediterranean coral that resembles a parure attributed to masters from Trapani of the mid nineteenth century, of a private collection in Palermo, of romantic floral taste. This type of necklace, very popular also in Torre del Greco, is found in the Sicilian production where the masters, skilled in making fine objects, to keep abreast of national and international exhibitions were always in contact with the artistic novelties of Naples and Paris. Indeed, some documents show that since the second half of the eighteenth century the master Antonio Tardia realized in coral "cherris, Fraghe, sour cherries, red apples, fruit and extremely similar to the ones found in nature " presumably to be allocated to works of jewellery as did Ignazio Marrone (1790-1865) in the nineteenth century.  In this case, the particularity of the coral from Sciacca, which obtained only from 1875 in Sicily, helps with the dating. Only then, in fact, huge amounts of this  precious material of a red salmon colour, spread on the market by promoting the creation of new companies. Sets, jewellery, small charms and amulets in "flowers and fruits” style, in neo-pompeian and neo-Renaissance style, flooded the market until the mid-80s, and inflated it. This resulted in the closure of many laboratories and the provision of stocks in favour of a new coral that came from the seas of Japan.