Made c.1870 at a time when similar ancient items were being pulled from Italian soil, identical examples are pictured in all the Castellani literature. One formed part of the exhibition Castellani and Italian Archaeological Jewellery held at The Bard Graduate Center, New York, in 2004-05.
A number of these have been offered in recent years with contrasting commercial fortunes: the sale of a necklace for $37,500 at Sotheby’s New York in 2012 was followed by another in 2016 hammered down at Sotheby’s New York for $100,000.
The example pictured here was offered by Skinner (23/20/12% buyer’s premium) in Boston on September 27, unsigned but accompanied by a letter from Wartski, signed by Geoffrey Munn, stating that the necklace is by Castellani. It was in sound condition save a tear to one leaf and some missing purple and green glass beads. Estimated at $15,000-20,000, it took $35,000 (£27,000).
The surprise performer in this sale was an antique (Georgian or earlier) ring that included a large pear-shape cabochon ruby that, a report from the AGL (American Gemological Laboratories) confirmed, was from Burma and showed no evidence of heat treatment. Mounted on a later shank, it was estimated at $5000-7000 but took $140,000 (£107,000).