Luxury & Fashion

Feb 29, 2016

One day we will go to Viana

Country of ancient traditions in the art of jewelry, Portugal has a rich heritage of jewelry and precious metals timeless beauty from the Age of Discovery, particularly from the East, in the century XV and Brazil in the XVIII century. It is in this context that develops the filigree - the art of working metals (gold, silver, bronze), one of the most traditional Portuguese arts.

Pé d´Mar is a brand founded in 1968, in Viana do Castelo, Minho, Portugal, that gave a new face to the Portuguese filigree jewelry, recognized worldwide as the finest and unique. Although not specific to our cultural tradition, the art of filigree, predominantly with baroque forms, developed in the XVIII century, particularly in Viana do Castelo. The art gained followers, especially between "minhotas" (the habitants of that region) who dressed up, wore abundantly jewelry during the festivities in honor of "Nossa Senhora da Agonia" (padroness of fishermen), becoming brand image of the region that even had the right to verses, the best known being: "If my love does not deceive me/one day we will go to Viana". Besides constituting a prop and social distinction mark, the filigree gold represented an investment and an asset for families. Today, the art of filigree remains predominantly in the north of Portugal, in Gondomar (district of Porto), and Póvoa de Lanhoso (Braga district), known as the capital of filigree.

From Latin Filum (wire) and Granum (grain), this exclusively handmade jewelry technique of rolling two tiny strands (the thickness of a hair) of gold or silver between them, and tiny metal balls, requires a very patient work, imaginative and great skill of the craftsman. The application is made on the same metal plate by drawing circular motifs, in spiral or "S" that after being welded form a draw.

After the casting process, the metal is poured into a "lacepillow" and turned into a tablet, which after passing through the rolling mill cylinders takes the form of a plate or thick wire. This process of working the metal proceeds in a "die" a thick steel plate riddled with holes of successively decreasing, tugging wires to obtain the desired thickness. Once made, the wire is employed in filling a frame, which is the subject of the drawing. Typically, yarns are gold or silver, but may also be bronze or other metals.

Over time, the filigree has been accompanied by two ways of production and use: as a masterpiece of technique and artistic feeling, associated with luxury props, profane and sacred use, with refined taste in design whose imagination and artistic configuration within a class of its own jewelry of high social classes; as integration technique, the watermark has become more complex and perfect, freeing up the laminar plate and takes individual place upon a skeleton, structure or frame.


Known in ancient Greek civilizations, Roman, Chinese and Indian, the origin of this art is uncertain, but historical descriptions tell us about contact with filigree since the 3rd millennium A.C. in the Middle East. However, the modern technique of Portuguese filigree has popular origin and is inspired by cult objects such as reliquaries or crosses and jewelry such as earrings or typical earrings with hearts, and the famous queen earrings and necklaces with Viana balls etc. The versatility of filigree work allowed the creation of other types of objects such as the Portuguese caravel, the medal collection, earrings and ring with the Portuguese guitar - a commemorative edition of Fado as Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO, and the famous rooster of Barcelos (north Portuguese region) are some of filigree pieces inspired by national traditions. Respecting all the handmade process, the brand Pé d' Mar took the traditional elements, innovated and created jewel lines with a modern character, distinctive and personalized. The versatility of filigree combined with creativity has dainty also in art, as exemplified by the Viana´s heart used in the exhibition of the Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos.

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