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Digital Subscriptions > Antiques Trade Gazette > 2288 > Portugal’s rich seam

Portugal’s rich seam

From noble jewels to semi-precious gems, a show in May will celebrate a ‘golden period’ of Portuguese jewellery in the 18th century. Here we preview the exhibition and then present other recent and forthcoming sale highlights.

Hammer highlights

Travelling in Portugal in the 1760s, Italian writer Giuseppe Baretti observed that the country “is very rich in gold and jewels. Their riches, however, are not the product of Portugal but of her ultramarine settlements”.

Portuguese jewellery from the 18th century speaks of empire. In particular, it tells of the discovery by the bandeirante, after two centuries of searching, of lucrative mineral deposits in the Brazilian interior: gold in the 1690s, diamonds in the 1720s and large quantities of tourmalines, aquamarines, topazes, chrysoberyls and amethysts after the 1730s.

The riches of the so-called Minas- Novas (new mines) gave a huge stimulus to the ‘national’ jewellery trade in Portugal.

Francis Norton, a director at London dealer SJ Phillips, says the Mayfair firm has been buying Portuguese jewellery from this golden period for about a decade in anticipation of a first selling show at the time of last year’s Frieze Masters.

“We love jewellery from this period. It’s very showy and very beautiful – an unmistakable national style,” says Norton.

Most of the 70 pieces have been acquired from sources away from the Iberian Peninsula, but this group is now deemed the rival of any collection within Portugal itself.

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About Antiques Trade Gazette

Antiques Trade Gazette is the essential publication for everyone with a serious interest in art, antiques and collectables. Every week it is packed with up-to-the-minute news on the market, with individual items beautifully illustrated throughout. Since 1971 it has been the most reliable source of information on what is really happening at auctions in the UK and around the world. Each issue is filled with auction advertisements and detailed auction reports written by expert journalists. The Dealer’s Diary section keeps readers constantly updated on what is happening at the fairs and markets and in the galleries and shops. Market professionals and serious collectors throughout the world rely on ATG to keep them informed on developments and issues which shape the art market. It is here that they learn about the prices achieved at auction in every area - from antiquities to pop memorabilia, from impressionist paintings to Chinese art. With 500 or more art objects pictured, every issue is a treat to the eye and a visual education. Whatever the topic Antiques Trade Gazette is well-informed, up-to-date and entertaining.

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