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Snuffbox Head of the Statue of Liberty in New York hand painted Sterling Silver

About the Item

Rounded rectangular snuffbox in 925/1000 sterling silver with fine hand-painted fire-enamelled miniature depicting the Head of the Statue of Liberty in New York. Dimensions cm. 5.5 x 7 x 1.8. Weight gr. 105. Designed by Giorgio Salimbeni in 1975 in Art Deco style and executed in numerous specimens, at the specific request of the firm Tiffany & Co., in Florence in the headquarters of the Salimbeni firm with completely manual execution by artisan artists with thick slab and large reinforcements suitable for sustaining numerous high-fire enamelled firings at approximately 750 < 800° C. Miniature is a very ancient technique which consists of painting works in small proportions. It was born for the decoration of the first letter of the paragraph of the books. Over the years, however, this technique is refined and enriched, then moving on to precious personal items. Hand-painted miniatures can be done with multiple different techniques. The most important that we use on our articles are of three kinds: 1) Fire enamel. 2) Water tempera on an ivory plate. 3) Painted on mother-of-pearl. Fire enameled miniatures: On a first layer of enamel generally white or very clear or even transparent suitably liquefied at a temperature of about 750° C, the chosen subject is painted using miniature colors which are as many colored crystals, ground and reduced to a very fine, almost impalpable powder washed and purified in distilled water with the addition of small quantities of deoxidizing acids which, diluted with essential oils (usually essential oil of solder), can be mixed to form a palette of colors. With very fine sable hair brushes you draw the subject starting from the perimeter and then gradually adding various layers of color. It is necessary to carry out various firings very often so that the colors harden and are not absorbed by the underlying glaze as, during the subsequent firings at 750 ° C, during liquefaction, it would spread irremediably. Hence the need to form the painting a little at a time, cooking it numerous times. Therefore it is necessary to proceed with numerous retouching, often overlapping different colors that only the painter's experience knows. A beautiful miniature needs from 20 to over 50 firings and is finished when the painter deems he does not have to further intervene. Some colors must have darker tones than others because then, by superimposing the transparent enamel placed at the end of the miniature, they fade. This transparent layer, called “fondant” in jargon, must be smoothed and polished like all other translucent enamel colors. The miniatures with water tempera colors are painted on real ivory plates and are watercolor paints which, being delicate, must be protected by glass and, above all, must not undergo washings or anything else over time because they fear humidity. The miniatures on mother-of-pearl are original and typical Russian and are painted with acrylic colors on smooth and shiny mother-of-pearl plates. The mirroring of the mother-of-pearl of the background creates very delicate reflective effects.
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