Saturday, March 8, 2014

Saturday Sparkle: A Spanish Breast Ornament, Seventeenth Century

Breast Ornament
Spain, Portugal
Seventeenth Century
The Victoria & Albert Museum
By the Seventeenth Century, Spanish and Portuguese jewelers were beginning to match, and often rival, the works of the Italian, French and English jewelers whose works had long dominated the growing International market.

This can be seen in this pendant or breast ornament of three parts composed of table-cut diamonds set in scrolling, gold foliated openwork which comes from Spain about 1650-1690.

When originally produced, the ornament consisted solely of the middle section which appears to be a couple of decades earlier than the rest which was added later as styles became more ornate. Some believe that the additional work was made by a Portuguese jeweler who altered the piece after it had been exported. 

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