An Antique Gold Brooch Set With An Ancient Roman Silver Coin

An antique gold and Roman coin brooch by Castellani c.1870s, the circular brooch set to the centre with a silver Denarius featuring the head of Trajan, Roman emperor from A.D. 98-117 surrounded by the legend IMP CAES NERVA TRAIAN AVG GERM on one side and Victory seated on the reverse, the coin within a beautifully crafted gold frame featuring four rope twist borders and a wide ground decorated with fine gold twists and beading, all to a single pin brooch fitting on the reverse. The Castellani workshop was a mecca for visitors to Rome and no nineteenth century lady or gentleman visiting Italy would consider a tour of the city complete without a stop at Castellani’s to marvel at, and likely purchase, one of his hugely fashionable pieces of jewellery. They specialised in Archaeological Revival jewellery, not only the styles but the techniques as well and this brooch shows the granulation and twisted wirework so characteristic of these jewels.

Further Details

Condition ReportVery fine
SettingGold with Castellani maker's mark
Weight description14 grams
Dimensions3.3cm/ 1.3" diameter

Literature & Exhibitions

See ‘Castellani and Italian Archaeological Jewelry’ edited by Soros and Walker p.244 for a similar brooch set with an ancient coin


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Fortunato Pio Castellani (1794 – 1865) founded his business in 1814 on the ground floor of the Palazzo Raggi ideally located on Rome’s Via del Corso, a wide and unusually straight road which led directly from the city’s northern gate into the heart of the historic centre.  Alongside jewellery he also bought and sold pictures, but it was as a jeweller and master goldsmith that his name would become renowned.  The pieces he made during the early years of the firm were largely in contemporary European styles, influenced by French, English and Swiss designs, and aimed at both the large quantities of tourist visitors as well as the expatriates living in Rome.  

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