18th-Century Spanish Gold & Garnet Earrings

Value (2007) | $8,000 Insurance$10,000 Insurance

The woman in the photograph is Lucrezia Bori, and my husband's great-aunt was her personal secretary for all of her career. Lucrezia Bori is from Spain, and she was the first female president of the Metropolitan Opera.


These were her earrings, and we have pictures of her wearing them in several operas.

You can see here she's got the earrings in a shorter style, and then here in the much longer version as we see here on the table. What's interesting about these earrings is that the central parts are detachable. And so she could wear them in a variety of styles, depending on what her mood was. These are Spanish. And I know you said she was of Spanish descent, And so these were probably family pieces. These date from the 18th century. They were based on much earlier designs, and they continue to be redone and updated for each of the centuries. Both the 17th and 18th and even 19th century. But these are definitely an 18th century pair of earrings. They're made of gold and garnet, and if I turn them over, one thing to point out, the tops of these are not original. These are a later addition, probably for ease of wearing. But you can see there are these little tabs on the back that are used here to separate each of the corresponding segments for the earrings. And then the back has a little bit of an engraving, just to make them a little more interesting on the back as well when you're wearing them. The reason these were divided into sections weren't so much used for changing the design of the piece, but these earrings were quite heavy to wear all the time. And so when ladies were going to their event or evening out, when they were in their carriages, they would take the lower sections off, so that they weren't so heavy, and upon arrival to their destination, they would put the bottom sections back on just so to give their ears a little relief for the evening. They're in excellent condition. We don't see many of these, and I think the fact that you have the history, the photographs, the portraiture, et cetera, with these, I would say that you would probably want to insure these from anywhere between $8,000 and $10,000.

Phew! That's amazing. Wow. Thank you. Unbelievable.

Appraisal Details

Heritage Auctions
San Francisco, CA
Appraised value (2007)
$8,000 Insurance$10,000 Insurance
Baltimore, MD (June 16, 2007)
18th Century

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