A chic pair of Catalan (Iberian) ear pendants,les arracades d'arengada,or herring earrings, circa 1860. The elongated forms evoke the shape of a fish, and the central element is thought to be a stylized butterfly. These are entirely handmade in gold and set throughout with foiled emeralds, within rub-over collet settings.
The longest examples on record measure approximately 14 centimeters and these were frequently worn with ribbons threaded through to offset some of the weight and for added comfort.
Catalonia has traditionally contributed to the Spanish Crown's trade, purse and navy in exchange for autonomy. Since the 10th century, Catalonia has maintained its own language, culture and institutions. In 1808, French troops invaded and occupied Spain(1808-1814 Guerra de la Independencia España). Napoleon Bonaparte deposed the sitting Spanish king, Charles IV of Spain (House of Bourbon) and handed the throne to his own brother, Joseph Bonaparte. Catalonia and the rest of Spain rose in rebellion.
The rather distinctive design of Catalan jewelry is informed by Catalonia's history, one rooted in regional autonomy and independence. The rest of Iberia was influenced by 'international' fashion and design in the Rococo taste (i.e. stylized bows & ribbons). The rest of Iberia was influenced by 'international' fashion and design in the Rococo taste (stylized bows and ribbons). These ear pendants have a more distinctive regional look with fewer indications of outside influence.
These earrings feature modern clip backs.
Earrings from Antiquity to the Presentby Daniella Mascetti & Amanda Triossi.
Weight: 37.50 grams; each earring weighs approximately 19 grams.
Length: 5.375 inches or approximately 13.50 cms.
Condition: In very good condition. Some alterations/repairs commensurate with age.
I'm grateful to the work of Marion Yang ofHeart of Hearts Jewelsfor her thorough research on 'Arracades d'arengada', or herring earrings.