Have you ever noticed pendants in the shape of an asymmetric heart? And have you ever wondered what is the story behind them?
If so, you are a true romantic at heart who appreciates the finest pieces of jewelry therefore you should most certainly get acquainted with Portugal’s high-end craftsmanship.
In the following paragraphs/text, you will have the opportunity to learn about the history behind the asymmetric heart and the quality of gold which it's made.
Portuguese Jewelry Craftsmanship
Portugal is a place where tradition is immensely respected, and where families cherish passing on pieces of history down from generation to generation. Gold jewelry represents one of such treasures.
Imagine how precious it is to own a piece of jewelry that has been in your family for generations, a beacon of light throughout all the hardships and blessings, absorbing all the wisdom, warmth, and love that one day you too can pass down to your children. And filigree jewelry is most certainly that kind of prized possession.
Filigree is delicate jewelry ornamentation in which thin, supple threads of gold or silver are curled into a design and then soldered onto (or into) a piece of jewelry. The use of filigree for the creation of exquisite pieces of jewelry goes back to the early Middle Ages when this technique was introduced to the people of Portugal by Celtic tribes. The first to take up this exquisite craft were the jewelers in the region of Porto but later on, the filigree technique spread throughout the country. Generations of Portuguese goldsmiths dedicated their lives to perfecting this craft, earning, over time, high status in the world of fine handmade jewelry. That is why today we recognize Portugal as the home of high-end filigree jewelry.
Golden Standard of Portugal
Centuries later, gold in Portugal remains at a royal-worthy level of quality. Usually, the gold sold in Europe is 18 karat, whereas gold in Portugal is at least 19.2 karat. If you wanted to witness the brightest possible smile on your soulmate’s face, a piece made by Portuguese standards would do just that.
The Heart of Viana
The symbol of a heart has always represented something special and sacred, and the unique shape of the Heart of Viana has been a distinct part of Portugal’s rich heritage for hundreds of years. This unusual asymmetric design first appeared in the 18th century, carrying religious connotations. But legend says that the Heart of Viana actually represents eternal love between princess Ana and a boy named Thomas.
Why the name Viana?
Well, the love between Thomas and Ana was not approved by her father because she was a princess and he was a poor craftsman. But he firmly believed in his heart that she was the one for him and did not want to give up on her! Thomas used every chance he could get to at least catch a glance of Ana while she was walking about the castle. Even though that was not much, it was priceless to him.
He circled the castle waiting for her tremendous beauty to appear, and when that magical moment came, he had to share it with the world. Each time he saw her, he couldn’t help but shout at the top of his lungs: 'Vi a Ana do Castelo!' – 'I saw Ana of the castle'. If you’d try to read this sentiment in Portuguese, you would notice how the romantic melody of this sentence makes it sound like “Vi a Ana” is one word, hence – Viana. And that is how the legend of the Heart of Viana was created.
If you are wondering how this story is related to the Heart of Viana as we know it today, prepare to be amazed. Ana’s father, the king, wanted to ensure a suitable husband for his daughter, so he decided she would marry the suitor who presented her with the most amazing set of jewelry that the whole kingdom had ever seen. What he did not know was how remarkably skilled Thomas’ hands were. To ensure his marriage to Ana, Thomas had to disguise himself while presenting the jewelry he crafted to her father. The piece was so astonishing that Don Florentin had no other option but to accept Thomas into the family.
The question still stands, how did Thomas manage to collect the finest pieces of gold to create this magnificent heart? And how did this beautiful love story survive until this day?