Studio Smalti Collection
The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, in St. Louis, MO, contains one of the largest mosaic collections in the world. Mosaic installation began in 1912 and was finally completed in 1988. The mosaics collectively contain 42 million pieces of glass in over 7000 colors, covering 83,000 square feet. Wow!
Click here for an online tour of these incredible mosaics:
The majority of the mosaics were created by the Ravenna Mosaic Company of St. Louis, which was formed by August Wagner of Germany. When the mosaics were completed, the Ravenna Mosaic Company was left with an inventory of over 40,000 lbs. of Italian smalti in over 3000 shades. They clearly had the same problem we have in estimating coverage! The majority of the remaining inventory was created by Orsoni, and it also contains Italian smalti from other manufactures as well. The majority of the smalti was in the standard tesserae size- A cut.
In 2009, MosaicSmalti purchased this entire inventory-
-40,000 lb. of Italian Smalti-
and had it moved here to Cape Cod
We named this leftover St. Louis inventory our STUDIO SMALTI to distinguish it from our regular Orsoni inventory. All of the Studio Smalti was all Italian Smalti in the standard A-cut and was in brand-new condition . The smalti arrived in over 1000 wooden drawers and 600 plastic buckets. Hundreds of shades of blues, never-before-seen shades of orange or red or pink, flesh tones to match every human on the planet. These one-of-a-kind colors were a joy to behold . They also opened up a whole new world to those of us accustomed to limiting our palette to a mere 100-200 shades. (poor us!)
2016 Update: At the 2014 SAMA Convention in Philadelphia, we sold most of the remaining Studio Smalti. We really miss having these beautiful tiles for sale but are glad for the many, many students and mosaicists who were able to be introduced to Italian Smalti.