These are unusually rare and original Portuguese chrysoberyl earrings, circa 1750. In the 18th century, Portugal had access to rare stones such as topaz and chrysoberyl, via their dominion over Brazil. The aristocracy draped themselves with these stones, openly displaying their opulence wearing large brooches, rings and earrings. The women wore multiple brooches, multiple rings and balanced the height of their upswept hairdos with very long dramatic earrings.
This pair is one of three in 25 years that I have been able to
offer for sale. These jewels are so very scarce from this period, and especially rare to find in their original condition. Most of the jewels of this period have been broken apart and re-configured. When the husbands died, many of the aristocratic women withdrew to convents and bequeathed their jewels to the church. Today, these precious pieces of art surface when a convent chooses to sell them, or wealthy families decide to offer them for sale.
These pendeloque earrings are set with glistening, vibrant, sea foam green chrysoberyls, all hand cut and hand set in silver. There are etched mellow rose gold accents on the top and bottom sections. They measure a bold
3 inches long X 5/8 inches across the bottom. They retain the original back to front silver wires which can be replaced if desired.
They are in excellent condition and hang gracefully.
Similar examples are found in the National Museum of Ancient Art, Lisbon, Le Musee Des Artes Decoratif in Paris, and the Victoria and Albert in London. For reference, Five Centuries of Jewellery, the book which features this collection, pages 88 and 94.
Rare and singularly beautiful. Portugal, 18th century