Medici Gem Collection - National Archeological Museum of Florence

December, 2018

The National Archeological Museum of Florence is home to one of the world's most extensive and important collections of ancient gems and cameos, collected by the Medici and Lorena over several centuries.   

Begun by Cosimo il Vecchio in 1389, continued by Lorenzo il Magnifico (1449-1492), and enlarged by Ferdinando I at the end of the 1500s, this extraordinary and vast collection consists of more than 3,000 pieces, including precious gems, cameos, carved pieces, portraits, and other historic gold artworks that date to ancient Greece. During the Renaissance, superb goldsmiths. including Benvenuto Cellini, created fantastic settings for the ancient cameos and gems adding gold, additional precious stones, and enameled decoration.

After restoration, the collection will be placed on display in the museum’s Medici Corridor, built by Giulio Parigi in 1619.  30+ display cases within the corridor will contain 700 of the most important pieces, and the items on view will be rotated on a regular basis to showcase the vast historical collection.  The cases will be divided into sections highlighting Etruscan, Greek, Roman, and later medieval and Renaissance pieces, along with rings, "magic" gems, and seals.  Descriptive panels and a touch screen display will also be incorporated into the exhibit to further detail the history and importance of the collection.

Donors may sponsor certain pieces or underwrite an entire showcase.  Upon completion a permanent plaque dedicated to Friends of Florence and acknowledging major donors will be mounted alongside the collection.