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jewelry glossary

Antieke juwelen glossarium
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La belle ferronière by Leonardo da Vinci

Ferronière, French for "ironwork". A type of forehead ornament in the form of a band worn around a woman's forehead and ornamented with a jewel in the centre. They were of Italian origin, worn in the 15th century in the form of a silken cord or velvet ribbon knotted at the back of the head.

The style was revived in the early 19th century when the band was in the form of a fine gold chain or sometimes a string of beads, but was abandoned when hairstyles made it unsuitable.

The term is said to be derived from a portrait ascribed to Leonardo da Vinci and in the Louvre, portraying a lady wearing such a jewelled band; she was once thought to have been a blacksmith's wife (ferronière) greatly admired by Francis I, but now is generally considered to be Lucretia Crivelli, the mistress of Ludovico Moro, Duke of Milan.

A later version of the ferronière had two additional pendants hanging at the temples.

From: An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry, autor: Harold Newman, publishers: Thames and Hudson

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