Origin of the word
The word “FILIGREE” comes from the latin: “filum” which means wire, and “granum” which means grain.
Filigree is made out of thin wires. The technique that is passed on from generation to generation allows these wires, either silver or gold, although they are as thin as hair, to be welded together in this careful operation. The jewels are handcrafted and are carefully combined between the crafstmen and the workshops. The milenar art of filigree, mainly inspired in baroque forms, was developed in the XIX century particularly in the Minho region (north of Portugal), and has been taken to a sublime perfection by Portuguese craftsmen.
This heart, used as a symbol of the city Viana do Castelo, came around in the North of Portugal at the end of the XVIII century, and has a strong link to the catholic religion. It is said that Queen D. Maria I, grateful for the blessing of having been given a male son, requested the craft of a golden heart. The shape of the Viana Heart represents Jesus’s sacred heart on fire. The upper part of the heart represents the flames of the earth and the warmth of love.
The Viana Heart has become an icon of the Portuguese Filigree, and a part of Portugal’s emotional patrimony.
Queen earrings appeared in Portugal during the reign of Queen D. Maria I (1734 - 1816). The origin of the name seems to go back to the reign of D. Maria II (1819 - 1853), who wore a pair of these earrings during a visit to Viana do Castelo in 1952. After this visit, they became popular as a symbol of wealth and status and won the name “Queen Earrings”.