Beauty and Craftsmanship

Joyas de Aliseda Pulse para ampliar Joyas de Aliseda (Sala 10, vitrina 10-11)

Treasure of Aliseda. Jewellery

“Design is where science and art break even ” Robin Mathew

These fascinating gold jewellery pieces from the seventh century BC are part of a valuable hoard associated with the Tartessian culture and named after the town in Cáceres where it was found. They are personal ornaments, mostly for women (rings, bracelets, diadems, earrings), made at a local workshop using techniques (soldering, filigree and granulation) inspired by oriental cultures that have endured to the present day, as well as indigenous methods such as plating and repoussé. The finest craftsmanship is found on the diadem and the belt. The former features a pattern of lacy motifs rendered in gold filigree, where the blank space is just as important as the decorated areas. On the belt, gold granules were used to cover predetermined areas. The different decorative motifs on these precious objects are also of eastern origin: palmettes, rosettes, lotus flowers, a hero (Melqart) fighting a lion...

The centuries have not detracted from the precision and beauty of their craftsmanship. The production methods, also used for decoration, are entirely manual and still used by goldsmiths today, as this trade has largely avoided the standardisation brought on by the Industrial Revolution. Another highly significant aspect of these pieces is the raw material chosen to make them, gold; its use not only determined the production method and aesthetic, but also defined the social status of the future wearer. This is a reminder that objects often serve a symbolic purpose. Prestigious firms such as Tiffany & Co. or Dolce & Gabbana still use these techniques in their jewellery collections, knowing that artisanal methods yield a design of exquisite beauty and precision with the cachet of exclusivity.