- By Tushar Ovhal
Pietra Dura is an art form which is used to make decorative vases, table-top, furniture and many other artistic displays. It is a technique in which highly intricate exhibits are made out of small hard stones. We can find its traces in ancient Italian art where the phrase Pietra Dura means “hard stones” and uses highly delicate technique to integrate small shaped coloured stones to form intricate sculptures. The stones used are usually silicates, including agates, alabaster, amethyst, jade, jasper, lapis lazuli, malachite, onyx, and topaz. It has developed as antiquity. The technique originally consisted of shaping the coloured stones with small saws, wires and then adding them to decorative objects and sculptures. The art was revived during the Renaissance by Italian craftsmen and the first hard-stone workshop was established by the Medici family in Florence in 1588.
The art was also practiced at the courts of Naples, Madrid, Prague, Paris and elsewhere. From the late 16th century, the colorful stones were arranged on furniture as landscapes and flower scenes.