Spanish Armada: Pearl & Gold Antique Drop Earrings
The 17th century saw the Iberian Peninsula as pre-eminent in the design of earrings with the development of gold lace-like settings in intricate patterns learned from the Moors. Their expertise in gold work of the next century is more than evident in the following example.
Using high carat yellow gold, these artisans incorporated cannetille work and natural pearls to create a pair of superb earrings reminiscent of sails of a Spanish galleon spun of gold threads. Craftsmanship of the finest order created diaphanous drapes of gold “fabric” studded with luminescent pearls attached to the surface with mono-filament (originally with wires).
Gossamer sails sprawl along the gold boom as lines of gold chain attach to simple ear fittings. The orb crow’s nest of gold and pearls dangles from the top against a triangular sheet of wind as the boom suspends a pair of pearl and gold tassels with pearl fringe.
Condition: Good to very good; pearls have been re-secured for security; later date 14k gold ear wires gilded to match; a few pearls missing at various points of the drape.
Measurements: 2-3/8 inches (6.4 cm) in length including ear wire and 2-1/16 inches (5.3 cm) without by 7/8 of an inch (2.3 cm) at the widest. This pair of antique earrings has a weight of 5.0 grams (3.2 dwt).
Date & Origin: Circa 1780 or earlier and is most likely Spanish in origin.