Thursday, April 18, 2013

Gifts of Grandeur: A Portuguese Dress Ornament, 1770

Bodice Ornament
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Here’s a pretty, little thing. This bodice ornament of a bow and a symmetrical arrangement of flowers is made up of large golden-yellow topazes (sometimes described as “sherry topaz”) and a mixture of colorless topazes and rock crystal. The colorless topazes have a slight pink tinge which sets them apart from the crystal.

A huge export of topaz from the Portuguese territory of Brazil in the Eighteenth Century gave rise to increased use of the stone in Britain. However, it is possible that this ornament was made in Portugal. 

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