With “B” for “Brooch”

The root of a brooch is the fibula, a piece as old as the Bronze Age.

The use like we know it today – piece of jewelry – started during the Classic period. It was used to hold or fasten the traditional heavy clothes.

Over the years, this piece became into an ornament with the only purpose of decoration. Nowadays it’s a considered a vintage jewelry for women to be worn over the lapel, dresses or a scarf.


It’s made of two solded pieces: the decorative part and the safety pin to clip it to the fabric. And I say “safety” because brooches usually have a security system to help keep it fastened to the clothe and therefore avoid the loss.

It’s also usual to find a hidden piece into the brooch. We have a few of the kind in our vintage collection. It’s a sort of ring that can be opened in order to pass a chain that will allow you to use it as a necklace.

Many women collect them, and it’s frequent to find brooch collectionists specialized in just a given form of the piece, like bows, ladybugs, dragonflies and the kind.

It’s a gorgeous piece of jewelry that will always match your gown to help make it more elegant and timeless.


In oder to show you how a good choice of a brooch can be your ideal accesory to finish your attire more elegant, let me use the well-known saying “to close with a golden brooch”, which means that the matter you are talking about needs that final touch to make it just perfect.

Images: @María Vintage Photography


The jewels witness of the most touching love story in the Renaissance: Margherita Luti

According to the legend, Raffaello Sanzio, known as Raphael, fell in love with Margherita Luti while she was washing her feet under the Tiber river. The love he felt was so appasionate that he couldn’t concéntrate while he finished an order from the reach banker Agostino Chigi. The client was so desperate that finally he moved Margherita into a house close to Raphael, in order to let him finish his work.

And then he painted Margherita… And in both paintings appear the Historic Jewels I want to talk you about today: In the impressive “La Veleta” and “La Fornarina”

“La Veleta” was made in 1516 and Margherita poses wearing rich clothes and a veil in silk (apparently) and over her hair she wears an appealing ornament with a pearl and a ruby. It’s almost stuck to her careless hair (a proof of her adulterous life). This piece is very similar to the one whe also wears in “La Fornarina”, under a turban this time (a common accesory by the time). I’d say both jewels are the same.


And here I bring them both to you: One over a thin chiffon and the other one over a rich silk brocade.

But let’s digg deeper into the amazing life Margherita had and the touching love story between she and Raphael…

In 1514 Raphael got engaged with Maria Bibbiena, Cardinal Medici Bibbiena’s niece. But this marriage never was consummated. His mind and heart were with his true love: Margherita Luti, “La Fornarina”. Margherita was Francesco Luti’s daughter, the owner of the bakery Fornaio de Siena. Her humble condition stopped the family from marrying Margherita to Raphael, a very recognized artist in the time. So she had to resign herlself with being his lover.

It’s possible the most reliable proof of this romance was the painting “La Fornarina”, where Margherita poses half naked only covered by a soft and thin silk, holding a breast with her right hand. According to the history, this painting was hidden in his studio and only a few knew about its existance.


Like in the good love stories, this one between Raphael and La Fornarina had a sad engind. After a night together, he fell ill and died 15 days after. The artist left enough money to Margherita to finish her days without any trouble. However her plans were different. The pain was such that she joined the Convent Santa Apolonia in Santa Dorotea where she lived the rest on her life. She never touched the fortune Raphael had left her.

This is one of the most beautiful love stories in Rome during the Renaissance, linked to a jewel that already is in our Historic Jewels Collection.








@María Vintage Photography



Cartier: Marjorie Merriweather Post’s Brilliant Historic Jewelry

Today I bring to you one of those exhibits that you’ll easily retain in your mind forever. The fineness and beauty of a Cartier’s historic jewel, being able to admire it and almost feel it is with no doubt one of my biggest pleasures in life. If on top of that you make that a plan to travel to New York on vacations… what else you can ask for?

The show, under the name Cartier: Marjorie Merriweather Post’s Dazzling Gems brings together the most famous pieces of one of the main Cartier’s clients during the first half of the 20th century: Marjorie Merriweather.

The exhibit takes place in a rustic and very charming atmosphere with a touch of vintage air, placed within the gardens of the Hillwood museum. The building recreates the architecture that was common in the Adirondack Mountains, upstate New York, where our protagonist used to have her summer holidays.

The museum brings its special shows to this building in order to allow the visitor to enjoy a deepest experience of Hillwood.

Cartier - Merriweathers jewelry - Hillwood museum exhibit - by Vintage By Lopez-Linares - Copy

Who was Marjorie Merriweather Post?

Meter foto: Marjorie Merriweather wearing Cartiers jewelry – Hillwood museum exhibit – by Vintage By Lopez-Linares – Copy

She was considered an icon in the history of America. She was the founder of General Foods and a leading socialite who lived from 1887 to 1973. When she was 27 she became into the wealthiest woman in the States after inherit her father’s fortune valued in $250 million.

The collection of jewelry, vintage furniture, porcelains, paintings and tapestries that Marjorie ended gathering during her long life is impressive and includes pieces from Faberge and Cartier, among other prestigious designers. The distinguish jewels that Marjorie requested from Cartier are the ones you can visit now in the Hillwood Museum.

Among the displayed jewels a brooch stands out. It’s considered one of the Cartier master pieces, made with seven carved Indian emeralds, tiny diamonds, platinum and enamel. It was designed back in 1928 by the renowned jeweler for her appreciated customer Marjorie Merriweather Post.

It’s also worth mentioning the necklace the designer did for her with pearls, diamonds and platino or the astonishing one with sapphires, among many other pieces worthy of the most demanding art collector.

Cartier -  Marjorie Merriweathers jewlery - Indian emeralds brooch - by Vintage By Lopez-Linares - Copy

Cartier - Marjorie Merriweathers jewelry - sapphires necklace - by Vintage By Lopez-Linares - Copy

With no doubt, Marjorie had a very good taste for jewelry and fashion in general, like she proved with such an amazing collection, that you can visit until the end of 2014 in Washington DC.

Please, visit the Hillwood Museum website for further information or see more pictures in the exposition Pinterest board.


The Boticelli’s Venus and the brooch in her neckline

London National Gallery. Sandro Boticelli (1445-1510)

Venus and Mars was painted around 1483 by one of the most important artists of the Renaissance; Sandro Boticelli. The painting has many beautiful details but what really grabbed my attention was that little brooch on Venus’ neckline: A total of 8 pearls or stones in a light color with a ruby in the middle. A simple and timeless piece we’ve brought into our Historic Jewels Collection this month, straight away from Florence. I guess the knowledge Boticelli had as a metalsmith made him being interested in jewelry.

According to the size and form, this painting is 173×69 cm, it seems it was made to be a “spalliera” or headboard, and the reason might have been a marriage celebration.

The protagonists: two of the main mythological gods. Venus, goddess of beauty and love, and Mars, god of war. Venus wears a Florentine design in pure white while Mars is half-naked sleeping at her feet. In the meantime, a few little satyrs play around with his helmet and weapons. It might represent the triumph of love against war.


It’s said it could be a wedding gift ordered by the Medici family. However there’s a detail on the top of the painting that might indicate otherwise: a few wasps, symbol of the Vespucci’s family. I haven’t been able to confirm who ordered this painting.

What I have verified is that the model for Venus was Boticelli’s muse: a beautiful and young lady in the Medici court. Her name was Simonetta Vespucci, an icon in her time. Simonetta was a gorgeous Genovese married to a rich businessman calld Marco Vespucci. The Vespucci and Medici families were actually very good friends.

I’ve also discovered Marco Vespucci was Boticelli’s neighbour during the time of the painting. The couple was very well-known around not only because of their power but of her beauty. Simonetta died when she was 23 of tuberculosis, but all Boticelli’s paintings have shown u show beautiful she was.

The Boticellis Venus and her brooch - Venus and Mars - Historic Jewels in Vintage By Lopez-Linares

To be honest, I can’t imagine a better feeling than lying with the person you love with this painting over you head… I don’t know why but I imagine a just-married couple enjoying this wonder.

The painting is symbol of harmony and happyness, you could be watching it for hours. I think we all were hypnoticed by the beauty of the protagonists and how idilic the scene is itself.




One brooch and Two Leonors

What a coincidence!

Two nearly parallel lives, united in the twenty-first century by a piece of jewellery. An oval shaped broach with a beautiful stone in the centre and a large hanging pearl, which was used in its time as a pendant in a magnificent pearl necklace and as a brooch to finish off a beautiful head band.

After nearly 500 years, we continue to admire the beauty of this piece, immortalized by two great masters of the Renaissance paintings, Bronzino and Joos Van Cleve.

Two exciting lives, two women that fought, suffered and travelled. Two women that have made their own history and from this history we are left a few portraits displaying Leonor’s brooch.


Our first Leonor, Leonor of Toledo was the granddaughter of the second Duke of Alba, born in Alba de Tormes and at 20 years of age married inFlorence to Cosme I of Medici, the marriage produced 11 children of which only five reached adulthood. It was only a few years after the celebration of this wedding when Bronzino, of whom Leonor was the unconditional patroness, made this famous portrait that you can find in the Uffizi Gallery inFlorence. In the painting we see a very young Leonor showing off a broach on her neckline, with a magnificent pearl necklace. Her gaze transmits a sense of security and serenity to me.

A woman of extraordinary wealth from both her family and marriage, she never forgot her pious obligations and thanks to her insistence, the Jesuits installed themselves in Florencefor the first time.

Entrepreneurial and pioneering for her time, she took such interest in the agricultural and financial subjects that her knowledge contributed enormously to the expansion of the Medici’s farming business. Her capacity and dedication gave her husband all the more reason to trust in her, to the point of leaving her regent of all his matters during some of his numerous trips.

It is said of her that she was the only person capable of calming the bad moods of her husband, and that many people resorted to her in search of help for favours from her powerful husband.

She wasn’t Queen but she lived in two palaces fit for the most dignified of all “The Palace of Medici Riccardi” and “VecchioPalace” both of which are in Florence.

There was a legend that existed in her time about her death that spoke of revenge and assassinations. Following the legend it appeared that her son Garcia of 16 years, had killed his brother Giovanni of 19 and that the father, Cosme I, when learning about this vile murder, killed his son Garcia with his very own sword.

What is true is that he died soon after his two sons and although we know it was from malaria, we can imagine that two losses so soon after one another would have weakened his delicate health even more.

We can still admire the funeral dress conserved in the ‘Palazzo Pitti’s’ Costume Gallery.

Our second Leonor born Infanta of Spain in Brussels, daughter of Felipe el Hermoso (Phillip the Handsome) and Juanala Loca(Joanna the Mad), was the first of the six children of this famous marriage.

Separated from her parents at a very young age, due to them having gone to Castilein order for her mother to be crowned Queen, following the death of Isabel the Catholic. Leonor was brought up by her aunt Margarita, a woman of great rigidity, but who knew how to provide her with the care that a child of this early age needed and who loved her as if she were the girl’s very own mother.

Although from a very young age she would have realised that she had been born to be Queen, at 15 years of age she fell madly in love with a dashing gentleman named Federico, her brother Carlos (Charles) was enraged tremendously by the situation, and expelled the audacious gentleman, who dared to write a love letter to his sister, immediately from the court. In the wedding arrangements for her brother, Carlos did not contemplate a wedding for the sake of love, but instead a wedding for mere political interest as was needed at the time and even more so due to whom she was.

Leonor was called upon to be Queen and due to this she was lined up to possibly engage the most important Kings of her time like Henry VIII, Louis XII of France, Sigismund I of Poland and the principal heir to Portugal, Juan. Finally she ended up marrying the father of the last, King Manuel I ofPortugal, recently widowed he fell madly in love with her when they sent him her portrait in order for him to become familiarised with her. His son Juan never forgave this offence and the confrontation between father and son was such that King Manuel ended up expelling his son from the Portuguese court for fear of his own integrity.

Leonor became Manuel’s widow at the mere age of 23, with a small daughter named Maria who she was obliged to abandon inPortugaland did not see until 23 years later. From Portugal she moved to her brother Charles’ court with which she always shared a greatly caring relationship.

A few years alter becoming widow; our Infanta was contracting marriage with her second husband, the one who would take her back to her place on the throne, this time as the Queen of France. In this second marriage she would not be as happy as she was in the first. It was a marriage of political convenience as was the previous; however Leonor, older and becoming ill, didn’t manage to integrate herself in this court which was much more luxurious and refined than what she was used to; this together with her husband’s continuous infidelities made this perhaps the unhappiest period of her life.

Yet thanks to her character of natural goodness, comprehensiveness and simplicity, and to her privileges as the Queen of France, she managed to help the needy on numerous occasions, this won her the unconditional affection of the French population.

From this period of her life comes the magnificent portrait by Joos Van Cleve that is conserved inViennaand in which we can appreciate the beauty of our broach adorning Leonor of Austria’s hair.

Meanwhile Bronzino painted the famous portrait of Leonor of Toledo our Infanta, widowed by her second husband after 17 years of marriage, due to having no descendants and no real reason to keep her in France, Leonor returned immediately to the court of her brother Carlos, who she adored, and where she remained till the day she died in 1558.

Two great women and two great widows united by this broach of Renaissance jewellery, if you would like to have this magnificent copy in your hands don’t hesitate to visit our Vintage By space of Madrid.

Would you be capable of finding a twenty first century look for this magnificent sixteenth century broach?