Spain and Portugal were intensely Catholic in the 17th century, the heartland of the Counter Reformation that set out to reinvigorate the Roman Catholic Church. Traditional jewellery often incorporated Catholic religious symbols, such as the cross and heart.

The shape of this gold filigree pendant is typical of northern Portugal. Similar pendants were also made in sheet gold, with engraved or applied filigree decoration, but always in the same shape of a heart with a curved point, and crown-shaped top. In the 16th century traders carried Spanish and Portuguese fashions in jewellery around the world. Heart-shaped brooches, like this pendant, are still worn today in Malaysia.

It was bought for £2 15s. at the International Exhibition, London, 1872.


  • Title: Pendant
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1855/1864
  • Location: Oporto
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 10.6 cm, Width: 6 cm, Depth: 1.9 cm
  • Medium: Gold filigree pendant

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