This dramatic Portuguese chrysoberyl pendant is 18th century. It was the age of opulence in Portugal, and the aristocracy flaunted their wealth. Wealthy women were adorned with multiple jewels, rings, hair ornaments and brooches. Portugal, having dominion over Brazil had access to stones such as topaz and chrysoberyl, desirable and rare during this period of time.
The magical color of these scarce chrysoberyls, ranging from a pale yellow/green to a vibrant green, enlivened their magnificent jewels. Skilled jewelers maximized the beauty of the stones by setting them in an early version of pave. Almost seamlessly set, the eye could appreciate the raw beauty of the stones. Each was hand cut, and foil back, glistening with life in the candle-lit rooms. The stones worked well set in silver and accented with the pale rose gold beaded borders.
This particular pendant would have been part of a larger jewel as seen on page 55, plate 65, in Five Centuries of jewelry, The National Museum of Ancient Art, Lisbon. With the addition of two loops on either side of the bow, and joined with a belcher link gold chain, it is now a dramatic, unique pendant. The bow, a tied knot suspending the drop is known as a Laca bow in Portuugal.
It measures a bold 3 inches long X 1 1/8 across the bow. The stones, a pale yellow/green, are original and vibrant in color. The chain is 18 inches long. These jewels rarely come to market as most were owned by convents. Scarce and beautiful, Portugal, 18th century
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