Smalti are small pieces of coloured glass, engineered specifically for mosaic art, and traditionally produced in two factories in Italy. I cut larger pieces of this coloured and solidified glass paste into small tesserae (tiles) using hand tools, much in the same way as was done during the Roman period.
Smalti are used primarily to create replicas of ancient mosaics, or to “translate” other forms of art, such as oil paintings, into mosaic form. They can also be used to create other decorative objects such as mirrors. The brilliant colour of the glass, and the precision with which the tesserae can be cut allow for the creation of striking pieces with stunning visual effects.