Marcasite, or "white iron pyrite," was a mineral originally used by Ancient Grecian jewelers. Marcasite jewels became popular in Portugal in the early 20th century as a way to replicate the traditional 18th century Portuguese jewelry, which were commonly made with gold and diamonds. Today, marcasite is used to create stunning brassy and antique looking pieces, and is used as a way to honor the traditions of the old world. We think you'll appreciate the history and beauty of these earrings just as much as we do!
- 2.5" L x 1" W
- Sterling silver latch back earrings, marcasite
- Handmade in Portugal in Viana do Castelo
While I was in Portugal I didn't have the opportunity to visit the north were they have a strong tradition in the art of filigree jewelry. But even in Lisbon the pride of this craft was overflowing. The stunning art of Portuguese filigree has remained important over the years and is a distinct symbol of the northern regions of Gondomar, Viana do Castelo and Póvoa do Lanhoso. Every piece due to the rigor of creation, assembly and finishing requires a large amount of manual labor.
In Portugal, filigree is an essential accessory and a mark of social distinction. It is mostly used in special events such as weddings or popular festivals. The pieces we feature were made in Viana do Castelo by skilled artisans. In this region a bride wears not only an astonishing pair of the iconic sterling silver "Queen Earrings" (rumored to have been gifted to Queen Maria II during her visit to Viana and said to bring fertility to the wearer ) but also two or more gold necklaces around her neck and at least one heart-shaped pendant.
**The additional photos is of Lisbon.