Imposing Spanish Crystal & Diamond Pendant
You have to give supreme credit to the early Spaniards with their sense of grandeur – anything for beauty – and in particular jewels. Their earrings were so large, long, weighty and magnificent that they did not hang from the actual ear. No, they hung from ribbons tied up into the powdered wigs, or wires wrapped around the ear since no human ear could withstand the sheer weight of the typical earrings. Rarely seen today, they often reach lengths that even on the most aquiline of necks, the earrings reach well to the collarbone. In a sense, lucky for us that one of these earrings was lost as the mate was turned into a very wearable pendant. Had both been present, they would have been relegated to a cabinet for viewing, rather than gracing the body.
The form of the earrings spans three centuries from the 17th – early 19th century. These earrings are quintessentially typical of the form of a girandole. While they were fashioned for this long span of time, the actual date of these most likely falls between the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Mounds of smooth silky silver hold petite rose cut diamonds, just enough to give an extra glint to the tips of the silver. The overall form is a modified girandole, or bow with three hanging drops. The surmount is an oval cluster, a very stylized bow form makes up the center and then two small drops and one main central drop add movement and life to the piece.
This pendant is set with eleven (11) glistening foiled crystals to resemble topaz. Hints of fiery orange and mellower ambers radiate from each square cut or teardrop shape gem. Note the remarkable metalwork between the silver mounds, the gold ridges and bezels for the stones, and the interplay of all the elements. Note the crescent moon forms in the smallest side drops.
For similar examples, see Daniella Mascetti and Amanda Triossi’s book, “Earrings, From Antiquity to the Present” on page 60 and 61. In excellent condition the play of gold for the crystals and tips, the silver, diamonds and warm tones, makes for a stunning jewel.
A generous length of 5 inches by 1 ¼ inches wide works as a dramatic pendant hanging down the breast or bodice. Weight 41 grams or 1.4 oz.
In excellent condition with later pendant loop added and the attachment points soldered closed at the drops.
Spanish in origin.