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Each button in this set of twelve is composed of a micromosaic view of an ancient Roman architectural site, in this case it is possibly a view of the Roman Forum. Each micromosaic is set in black glass and mounted in gold with an applied rope border. Each button attaches with a hook on the reverse. The set of twelve buttons are in their original black leather case with white silk and red velvet lining.
These exquisite chalcedony cameos came from jeweler Diego D'Estrada's shop in Rome. Robert Means Mason and his wife, Sarah, purchased the set along with a set of vest buttons depicting the sights of ancient Rome, possibly on their journey to Europe in 1865. Sarah was an acute asthmatic and the pair often traveled abroad for her health. Unfortunately, Sarah died in the fall of 1865 in Dieppe, France.
9/16 x 9/16 x 1/2 (HxWxD) (inches)