Antique Emerald Earrings of the Iberian Peninsula
The traditional pendeloque earring consisted of a three element design – a surmount suspending a ribbon bow which supports an elongated drop similar in shape to the surmount. A number of variations on this theme existed in addition to a distinctive style attributable to Spain and Portugal.
Emeralds, diamonds and gold from the New World were plentiful in the 18th century and the jewelry from the Iberian Peninsula clearly displayed its abundance. Here emeralds most likely from the mines of Colombia, regarded as the finest are set in 15k yellow gold which was usually reserved for colored stones as such. Each earring showcases twenty-seven (27) of these magnificent table cut emeralds with some set into high collars or domes of gold.
The bow form is lyrical with its structure giving a sense of stylized foliage with tendril and vine-like scrolls. The round surmount, crowned with similar “foliage” supports an articulated bottom hinge which suspends the bow. Again the pear shaped drop echoes the golden foliage for beautiful symmetry and perfect balance. Each of the superb earrings, in near mint condition (for their circa 1780 age) is individually hallmarked on the reverse. Please note the back to front ear wires.
Measurements: 2-3/16 inches (5.3 cm) in length by 1-1/4 inches (3.2 cm) in width. Weight for the pair is 16.2 grams (10.4 dwt).
Hallmarks: Each earring is hallmarked indistinctly on the reverse bottom drop.
Condition: Near mint.
Date & Origin: Circa 1780. Spanish or Portuguese in origin.
Note: Please refer to page 61 in “Earrings: From Antiquity to the Present” by Mascetti and Triossi and page 112 in “Jewellery: Reference and Price Guide” by Michael Poynder for similar examples.
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