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Portuguese 18th C. Chrysoberyl Jewel

Item 6559

History reveals that many modern innovations are actually part of the landscape of long ago. Pave set gems were "introduced" in the early part of the 20th century - a near miracle with the almost invisibly set gems nestled against one another. The metal was non-existent or so it seemed to the observer.

Yet, in the mid and later 18th century the Portuguese rivaled these highly accomplished modern jewelers for this art form. Akin to paving stones of luminescence, here are the finest chrysoberyls cut into the geometric form of a pale yellow green shield. Fifty one (51) stones are hand cut in patterns to fit perfectly together with only a sliver of silver between. Each is foiled and set deep within the metal for the impact of that additional radiance. At the edge--that characteristic touch of the Portuguese--a beaded rose gold border.

Not only do we have superb near mint condition, but also of a size rarely seen in this type of gem. Measuring an opulent 1-7/8 inches long by 1-5/8 inches wide, and in the center rising about 3/8 of an inch high (4.7 cm long by 3.9 cm wide by 1 cm high). Of note: the individual fastener discs on the reverse. Each disc is designed to be sewn to the end of a ribbon; the fasteners then slide into the grooves on the back of the clasp in an opposite direction. Surely this was meant for a bracelet or choker. We currently have chosen a charcoal black velvet ribbon for the choker. Ideally, if worn as a choker, a stop might need to be placed at the bottom of one groove to prevent the disk from slipping down. All original, and in mint condition except for small light surface wear to the silver reverse. Magnificent with its arching curves.

See “Five Centuries of Jewellery National Museum of Ancient Art, Lisbon" on page 89 for near exact examples. Now very scarce.