Pietra Dura Colored Marbles
Pietre dure is an Italian plural meaning "hard rocks" the term embraces all gem engravings and hard stone carvings artistically carved into three-dimensional objects. The Pietre dure, Italian hard stone, is made from finely sliced colored stones and precisely matched to create a pictorial scene similar to a Florentine mosaic.
In the Pietra dura "inlay technique", highly polished colored stones are cut and fitted to create images. The stonework is assembled loosely and glued individually, stone-by-stone to a substrate, after having previously been sliced and cut into different shape sections and assembled together with precision. Stability is created by grooving the undersides of the stones so that the stones interlock and held in place by an encircling frame. The pieces are generally crafted on green, white or black marble base stones. Typically the panel is flat, some where the image was in low relief were made by hard stone carving. It first appeared in Rome in the 16th century, reaching its full maturity in Florence.