These dramatic, chrysoberyl earrings are circa 1780. It was the age of opulence in 18 th century Portugal. The aristocracy flaunted their wealth, and women were adorned with striking jewels among them rings, brooches and hair ornaments . Portugal had dominion over Brazil and had access to many rare stones found in the Brazilian mines, among which was the scarce chrysoberyl .
The color of chrysoberyl is magical, having a range of pale yellow/green to a vibrant color similar to peridot. Skilled jewelers maximized the beauty of the stones by hand cutting them and setting them in silver rub over collets often in pave settings.
These earrings set in sterling silver have the popular bow motif suspending a long beautifully set sweep of stones. The stones are all hand cut and have the desirable mellow green with hints of gold color. The perimeter is accented with a low carat rose gold wire border. The early jewels were unusually bold and very long. Most likely another top section had been removed at one point in its very long life for ease of wear and comfort. The original ear wires which were back to front have been replaced with 14 karat gold ear wires.
For reference : The book, Five centuries of Jewelry, features the collection found in the National Museum of Ancient Art in Lisbon. Pages 88 and 94 have similar examples.
These are a strikingly beautiful pair of earrings with glistening stones that can be worn for fun with jeans or for serious evening wear.
Portugal, circa 1780
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Unique Antique Jewelry Through the Centuries
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