Some periods of jewelry are so magnificent, they have been eternal sources of inspiration for designers. Art Deco jewelry is probably the most influential era ever. Seventeenth and 18th century styles also inspire designers to this day. Perhaps the most well know silhouette from the regal days of yore are the chandelier earrings, properly known as girandoles. The elegant look is making a comeback now and was among Elizabeth Taylor’s most glamorous earrings. Then there are the bows, ribbons and flowers that have been ubiquitous in jewelry forever. The motifs really got under way during this romantic period.
When you think of jewelry from the 17th and 18th centuries perhaps, French, English or even Russian treasures leap to mind. The Portuguese, however, also made dreamy jewelry during the same period. Rulers of Brazil, the Portuguese had access to the nation’s diamond and gem supply. The abundance of gems made their jewelry perhaps more colorful than any other nation.
Now, there is an opportunity to see one of the world’s finest collections of antique Portuguese jewelry at the Casa-Museu Medeiros e Almeida in Lisbon. The short exhibition from May 25-28, 2017, titled The S.J. Philips Collection of Jewels of Portugal is being presented by the English antique jeweler, S.J. Philips in conjunction with Sotheby’s. It will showcase over 70 magnificent pieces from the 17th and 18th centuries. Some highlights from the presentation can be seen below. A book on the collection will be forthcoming from jewelry historian Diana Scarisbrick.
Commenting on the exhibition, Sotheby’s Senior Specialist and Sotheby’s representative in Portugal, João Magalhães, said, “The exhibition presents one of the most outstanding collections of Portuguese jewelry to exist outside the country and we are thrilled to be bringing it back to Lisbon, where much of it was made in the 18th century. Created during the apogee of Portuguese decorative arts, and particularly jewelry making, these beautifully crafted pieces tell the story of the country’s rich history and global reach of its empire.”
Chrysoberyl Bow Pendant and Earrings, c.1760
Suite of 6 Multi-Color Gemstone and Diamond Brooches. Two large and One Smaller Spray, Two Flower Baskets and One Bow Set with Topaz, Amethyst and Diamonds. c.1760
Quartz and Chrysolite Navette Shaped Target Cluster Ring, c.1780
Rose Diamond and Gold Matched Pendant Brooch, circa 1720
Set of 12 large and 8 small Chrysolite Cluster Buttons, c.1780
Chrysolite Pendant Necklace and Earrings Set, c.1780