Chrysoberyl brooch from Pertugal
Portugese chrysoberyl brooch, 18th century
L.: 9.0 x 4.5 cm
W.: 56,7 grams
This very beautiful chrysoberyl brooch was made in the 18th century in Portugal. Chrysoberyl jewelry, highly prized by collectors, has become exceedingly scarce. These stones, derived from the Greek words meaning golden beryl vary from a pale green to an intense green color. All the stones in the brooch were chosen to be a subtle, pale, sea foam green which varies depending on the light source. Each stone is foil back to maximize the reflection, as the settings at this period of time were typically closed in the back. All the chrysoberyls were beautifully matched, hand cut, and methodically placed in a pave sterling silver setting.
The Portuguese aristocracy, then among the worlds wealthiest, embraced the sumptuous style of Versailles and favored large, opulent pieces of jewelry, enjoying the precious stones of topaz and chrysoberyl that were imported from Brazil. The aristocratic women, upon the death of their husbands, would often withdraw to convents to live out their lives and bequeathed their jewels to the church. These jewels are so rare to surface for sale and those remaining in families were passed through the generations.
For reference on this period of design, see Five Centuries of Jewelry - National Museum of Ancient Art, Lisbon. (1995)