The main colors are blue (lapis lazuli), palettes of reds and yellows (jasper), the more mineral and lighter lustre (carnelian and agate) are typical of the precious stones used in Rome and are part of the shades found on some cabinets such as the important Borghèse-Windsor Cabinet sold at Sotheby's in Paris on September 20, 2016, lot 56.
Beyond the colors, the visual contrasts are accentuated by the use of inlaid silver, emphasizing the composition and amplifying the effect of richness. The use of metal inlaid between precious stones is a specific art borrowed from the cabinetmaking and found on many cabinets decorated with hard stones made in Rome in the 17th century and two wooden trays (Institute of Mineralogy of Florence).
This refinement is not only visual: the choice of stones also had impact on the final price of the work of art. In fact, sawing and polishing the hard stones required a much more delicate task than cutting the marbles including porphyry and granite. This kind of work was done by craftsmen with very different specialties: those who worked pietre dure or siliceous stones were mostly goldsmiths or jewelers, while those who looked after marbles or pietre tenere were instead marble makers or stonecutters.
The geometric rosettes and floral pattern is reminiscent of those found on the bottom of an engraved and carved rock crystal Venetian box, made around 1600 (Hever Castle Collection sold Sotheby's in London, May 6, 1983, lot 287).
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