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Saturday, 26 March 2011

A Rare Spanish Antique Emerald SEVIGNÉ Brooch


Towards the end of the XVI century, the Renaissance style started to evolve towards Baroque, and this brought two important innovations into jewellery. The first one is strictly technical, consisting on new methods for cutting gemstones; and the second one relates to the introduction of floral, ribbons and knot motifs instead of human and animal figures which were the main topics until then. This significant change is clearly appreciated in this piece. The corsage brooch is composed of three pieces: the first one of a ribbon design, the middle piece of floral design and the pendant is a square cross. The gold work is exquisite, presenting different layers of fine lace design and very delicate carving. The table cut emeralds are typical from the Spanish Baroque following the discovery of the emerald mines in Latinoamerica. The piece is a later work inspired in the work of Gilles Légaré published in 1663.

The fashion at the time, required this type of brooch to be worn centred in the chest or in the plunging neckline of the dress. It is a Spanish piece from 1700 that was probably made in Granada or Cordoba with no chance to know who the maker was because they did not sign their work yet. Besides its beauty, the importance of this brooch lies in its scarcity, as very few have survived until today.

It will be auctioned at Christie's Amsterdam on April 13th.

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Research by Ana Cicuendez