Corsi Collection of Decorative Stones

view of stone 574

Corsi 574, approx. 145 x 73 x 40 mm, © Oxford University Museum of Natural History

OUMNH Number: 574  
Name and quarry location: Pietra Braschia, from The Western Alps  
Geological description: Garnet peridotite showing reaction rims with radial structure around embayed garnets. The outer rim is probably granular pyroxene. The matrix is olivine-rich, recrystallised, with a tectonic fabric.  
Comments: Pietra Braschia is named after Giovanni Angelo Braschi who became Pope Pius VI in 1775 and was a great patron of the arts. He founded the Vatican Museum and had two large vases made from this stone for his Museum. The stone was used by the ancient Romans for inlays and small items, and recycled by the scalpellini who named it after the Pope. The exact place it was quarried is not known but it appears to be a typical very fresh, Alpine garnet peridotite, not from Smyrna as Corsi suggests, and it is not a serpentinite.  
References: Borghini (1997) 268; Corsi (1845) 158-159; Gnoli (1988) 160; Mielsch (1985) 63, taf.20; Price (2007) 191  
Further information:

Corsi's classification: Class 7. Serpentines; i. Noble serpentines  
Corsi's text: 146.10 Pietra Braschia  

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