During the last fifty years of the nineteenth century any lady of fashion visiting Italy would consider her tour of Rome incomplete if she did not call into the Castellani’s shop near the Spanish Steps to acquire one of the famous pieces of Italian archaeological revival jewellery offered there. Fortunato Pio Castellani (1794-1865) pioneered the classical revival in his Roman workshop as he was concerned at the declining standards of craftsmanship in everyday life and became obsessed with ancient techniques.
In his workshops Castellani trained many goldsmiths and they produced outstanding works. None were more brilliant than Carlo Giuliano, a pupil who went to London c1860 and opened his own workshop, producing exquisite jewels for retail firms who featured them bearing his name and signature and in their own stamped cases.
He quickly became well-known for his delicately detailed pieces, such as this gold, seed pearl and enamel necklace c1890 – 1900. It combined the beauty of monochrome enamel with slender chains of seed pearls. It was a very delicate, feminine design in an era where spontaneity was appreciated and the design of jewellery well suited to its purpose – to enhance feminine beauty.