The traditional girandole three-part form is so quintessentially 18th century that its presence was ubiquitous in the richest to the most plebeian examples of jewelry.
In Portugal, a form of pendant such as this is referred to as a sequilé consisted of an ornate bow-like, curvilinear extravaganza of gold work and diamonds. Lyrical, its structure gives a sense of stylized foliage with tendril and vine-like scrolls.
A number of variations on this theme existed in addition to a distinctive style attributable to Spain but this is a classical example in 18k gold and table and rose cut diamonds.
One of the earliest cuts of diamonds, the table cut was so named for its large, flat top surface with only four planar facets slanting downward, one per side.
Showcasing fifty-three diamonds in the pendant and another and 32 in the earrings, the surface is a textural and sculptural delight of forms within light and shadow.
Typical of the period and region, each diamond is set within mounds of gold that appear to be smeared over the edges of the stones. Diamonds are also placed within pear shaped high domes, the bottom edges frilled with serrations. Closed backed set for the diamonds, the reverse reveals rounded pillows of gold amid the tracery.
With 7 articulated dangles the pendant is alive with movement and shimmer. The earrings are designed in five articulated parts with the classic three drops of the girandole.
So rare to have found a set, these present a sense of continuity and history as well as sheer blissful beauty that can still be worn and enjoyed. Are you the next caretaker?
For similar examples, see the book "Five Centuries of Jewellery" from the National Museum of Ancient Art, Lisbon by Leonor d'Orey. Talk about breathtaking....Pages 61 and 64-68.