Pink Topaz 18th Century Pendant Brooch
Pretension, ostentatious, and spectacle were the words of the day for the late 17th and 18th centuries. The aristocratic and wealthy Spaniards and Portuguese continued with this tradition longer than did those caught up by the tides of revolution in Europe and England. Spanish-owned Brazilian mines produced a wealth of gems including superb emeralds, chrysoberyl, topaz, rock crystal among others. Around 1735 the mineral topaz was discovered in Brazil. With the influx of these astounding gems the use of color became more significant and, consequently, more prevalent.
The influence of the opulence, pomp and circumstance attributed to the French court of Louis produced luxuriant gemstones well through the century. Flowers and bows, teardrops and clusters were combined in a myriad of elegant styles. Here is a pendant brooch with a floral spray atop a pendeloque or pointed, pear-shaped drop. In a three part flower motif, the whimsical and playful shades of the foiled topaz skips from salmon to tangerine, from a blush to a dusty rose all set within a sculptured silver back.
Measures 2-1/2 inches in length by 1-3/4 inches at the widest (6.3 cm by 4.2 cm). All of the topaz is original and intact. Condition of topaz is good with a variation in shade and foiling over time; the central floral form is slightly more matte than the other topaz gems (see photos). There is a later but comparable pin mechanism attached to the top piece, later base for the C clasp and hinge as well as a latter date silver cup over the back of the middle flower (to secure the top and middle section). Two discs on the back where top and middle section join -an old way of reinforcing the connection points without damaging the jewel have been added. Otherwise in splendid condition. Circa 1760 - 1770, and Portuguese or Spanish in origin.
Note: see "Five Centuries of Jewellery" from the National Museum of Ancient Art, Lisbon, page 70 - 73 for similar examples.