Venetian explorer and trader Marco Polo was one of the first Westerners to travel the Silk Road, bringing European goods to Asia and returning with, among other things, precious gems. Here, the journey is embodied in garnet, peridot, and amethyst. Renaissance designer Benvenuto Cellini's work for the Medici family is adapted by Chinese jewelers using faceted gems mined in India—true fusion of three cultures. The gems are set in granulated 24-k gold vermeil, which is gold-plated sterling silver, a practice that started in France in the mid 18th century. Read more about Marco Polo's journey in Mike Edwards' 2001 series of articles for National Geographic magazine.
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