Engraved gems were one of the most sought-after luxury items in the ancient world, and with great luxury comes the demand for great imitations. Roman artisans became skilled in using pasta vitra, or glass paste, to simulate gemstones, and the effect was no less brilliant. They could then carve images into the glass in a process called intaglio, or they could use glass paste and lost-wax casting methods to produce consistent results.
Jewelers in the Tuscan village of Caprese Michelangelo, where the renowned Renaissance artist Michelangelo was born in 1475, use the same ancient pasta vitra and lost-wax casting to create this colorful bracelet. Glass "gems" depict the soft outline of two figures, with each gem outlined in 24-karat, gold-plated sterling silver.