There have been many unusual and rare items that I have had the privilege to hold in my hands, but this set will remain among my favorites. It a demi-parure of silver,gold and diamonds. The provenance is most certainly Portugal, as it had the availability of diamonds and gemstones via its dominion over Brazil.
To begin....the earrings are a classical bow/knot motif called Laca Bow. It has three sections that articulate freely. All the rose cut diamonds are set close back and foiled beneath each stone. The diamonds are cut by hand , characteristically set in tiny pockets of silver with rub over mounts. All this intricate work is done by a very skilled, artistic hand. The diamonds are set in silver, and all accents are in high carat gold. The original back to front ear wires have been replaced with shepherd hooks. The earrings measure 1 3/4 inches long X 3/4 inches across the widest span.
The bow, a pendant brooch, is spectacular as a bow/ knot embellished with flourishes of scrolls and foliage motifs. The work is magical, fine and artistic, and when held freely to the light, has a lace-like quality. The diamonds are all rose cut, and foil back. It too has been rendered by an artistic hand, so finely executed, that it takes some time to actually note that there are diamonds set in every turn of this bow. Note the diamonds surrounding the top central flower motif and the accent diamonds in each and every flower and leaf. So intricate is the design of the bow, that the form is almost deliberately lost to the eye. The diamonds are silver set, and accented with scrolls of high carat gold. The reverse has newer pin mounts and a pendant bale which were both well done. The brooch measures 1 3/4 inches long X 1 3/4 inches across.
So very rare to find any fine jewelry from this period, as most belonged to convents. This set has the most pleasing size, as it makes both items very wearable. The condition is excellent. For similar examples refer to "Five Centuries of Jewellery" National Museum of Ancient Art Lisbon. pgs. 66, 56
Portuguese, late 18th century