Early 18th Century Iberian diamond necklace. The necklace remains in it's original form. Diamonds set in silver and gold with with ribbon fittings, intended to be worn high on the neck. 11" in length.
In the 17th and 18th centuries the available wealth in Spain and Portugal was highly concentrated and centered in the royal courts and the Church. In the period the Spanish crown went to the extent of passing a multitude of legal provisions, pragmáticas, designed to alleviate a multitude of ills. This effort to curb excessive extravagance included governing what type of jewels could be worn and by whom. A necklace such as this could have only belonged to the highest of society. The early 1700's brought a relative influx of diamonds and other precious stones. The new supply along with newly developed stone cuts rendered a previously impossible glitter and sparkle. This innovation sparked a desire for jewels that made an immediate visual impression replacing earlier concerns for minute details in design and craftsmanship. This change occurred in the late 16th century due to the development of more complex techniques for cutting gems. It was one of the great innovations of the baroque period. The importance of gemstones in jewels increased, rather than chased gold and enamel work, setting gems became the jewelers new art resulting in pieces like this.