By tradition this piece, part of a set, is believed to have belonged to Caroline Murat (1782-1839), Queen of Naples. Their accompanying leather box is stamped with a crowned ‘C’ in gold.
Documentary evidence in the archives of the Opificio in Florence and in the archives in Naples suggest that this parure, or set of jewelry, may have been produced in either centre. Hardstone mosaic techniques emerged in Florence, where Ferdinand de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, founded the Grand Ducal Workshop (Opificio delle Pietre Dure) in 1588. It still operates today under the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage.
Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde formed one of the world’s great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.