A Revival of the Revivalists

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: contemporary, well-made jewelry in the classical style. Formerly a producer of jewelry in traditional French, English, or Swiss styles, Fortunato set about creating new pieces that replicated the designs of the early Italians and Greeks. The resulting jewelry was an immediate hit with both na
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