The Jewel in the Baroque


This week we discuss in our section History of Jewelry, The Jewel in the Baroque, which corresponds to the seventeenth century. A period of vital importance for the development of this art of jewelry. We will talk about the type of jewelry that was used the most, the importance that these had with fashion, as well as the most common techniques for their manufacture.

The Jewel in the Baroque

Baroque earrings

From the previous century, some ideas that were applied in the decoration of dresses and other elements used for personal adornment such as pajamas, dressings, medallions, belts are collected, fasteners for swords, earrings. etc.

The Spanish colonies in America continued to be of special interest due to the supply of raw materials, including gold, silver and precious stones, and the pearls came from the Caribbean and the Philippines.

Fashion continues to play an important role in jewelry making. That is why a large number of dressings and other jewels will be designed for the European royal houses, which over the centuries have accumulated important collections, among the most representative pieces are the coronation dressings, official and personal jewels. However, many royal jewels have been re-carved, fragmented or lost, although some important collections remain. Watches, tobacco boxes and stamps were in fashion at this time, all of them set with fine gemstones.

According to Arbeteta, (1998) [1] “Towards the end of the century, the accumulation and agenda of jewels became progressive, so the lower classes came to lower cost solutions, such as the use of pearls or imitations, which today we would call costume jewelery. The trend is towards jewelery with gemstones set in silver mouths that occupy the obverse sides, the reverse side being able to be enameled or well lined with gold. Color rhinestones are recovered, in showy color combinations. The names and varieties of the jewels are very numerous … ”

Religious jewels have great importance at this time, the most common are medals, crosses and devotional plaques , most in the form of pendant or breastplate. Crosses are usually made of gold with stones set or enameled. The medals have varied colors, created by the combination of enamels (red, green and blue), strung pearls and precious stones; They are usually made of gold and are made with openwork, filigree, chiselled techniques, etc.

The devotional plates have different shapes (oval, round, octagonal, etc.). The central motif is made of painted enamel, representing a religious image. The gold structure is combined with vitreous pastes or precious stones, they are usually filigree.

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