18th c Spanish Iberian Emerald Earrings

A marvelous pair of late 18th century Iberian pendeloque earrings, crafted in Cordoba, Spain from rich solid 18k yellow gold and set with 78 Columbian emeralds (about 2.6 – 3 ctw) of lovely saturation and hue. Each earring pendant consists of a rosette cluster of emeralds topped with a rococo-esque foliate finial, followed by a lazlo bow shaped central element, and finished with a tear-shaped drop set with more emeralds and a finial. The contours and details are pleasingly crisp and refined.

The pairing of bright high-carat gold with emeralds is a color palette iconic in its association with 17th-18th century Iberian jewelry. Since the 16th century, Spain’s maritime exploits had cemented its status as a leading power during the Age of Sail. A global mercantile empire had brought in raw materials for Spanish jewelers in abundance: silver from Mexico and Bolivia; gold and emeralds from Colombia; coral and pearls from Central and South America; rubies from Southeast Asia; and other precious gems from Brazil and India. In particular, emerald mines in Columbia, Brazil, and Peru were notably rich; by the 17th century, the very best Spanish jewellery (such as the magnificent Crown of Andes) came to be associated with a feverish use of emeralds. These pieces are at once delicate and bold, full of exuberant energy, and instantly brings to mind the narratives of a specific place and era.

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