The technique of piqué is thought to have originated at the end of the 16th century in Naples. As Lady Anne Miller commented in a letter of 1771, written from Naples: 'This city is famous for a manufacture of tortoiseshell, which they inlay curiously with gold, and are very ingenious at representing any object you choose.'
Signed pieces include an inkstand in the Wallace Collection (Inv. no. XXIIIA 35) by Sarao; a cabinet signed DE LAURENZIE F in the Royal Collection in England; and an inkstand by Nicolaus Storace, sold by Lord Rothschild at Christie's, London, 12 May 1970, lot 40. The Rothschilds formed one of the greatest collections of piqué historically, both at Mentmore and at Waddesdon, the latter thoroughly discussed in G. de Bellaigue, The James A. de Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor; Furniture, Clocks and Gilt-Bronzes, London, 1974, p.838.