1 cassettina dipinta e ferrata

Although the inventories of late fourteenth-century Florentine households provide the reader with a sense of the enormous wealth accumulated by some families, certain entries stand out as examples of great luxury, even among so many enumerated riches. A small box, or cassettina, and the items listed after it in the middle of a folio of Guido di Filippo Fagni’s ten-page inventory, offer one instance when the opulence of the assembled items stops the reader short. The diminutive chest, painted and iron-clad—which may have resembled the jewelry casket (pictured above) from New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art—was surely designed to hold items that were both valuable and ornamental. The many precious stones and treasures listed after the cassettina in Guido's inventory confirm this hunch, and demonstrate how wealthy, or at least how ostentatious, his family was. Here we find at least five magnificent rings, each set in gold and studded with pearls, emeralds, sapphires, red and blue carnelian, diamonds, turquoise, and other blue, white, and colored gemstones. Two of the larger ones were encrusted with multiple pearls—one held eighteen and another twenty-three—while smaller pearls and other gemstones, including a small turquoise, a sapphire, and a garnet, were listed individually, either unmounted or mounted in gold. Two small circlets made of gold, one with pearls and the other without stones, also appear among the treasures. The list of precious stone and metal items found in the cassettina is rounded off with a collection of one hundred large silver buttons, which alone must have represented a great deal of wealth.