Museum of Traditional Goldsmithery


“Georges! Come and see my country of pilgrimages

And processions!

Look ate those girls, look at these Marias*!

Wow! Pinch them!

Their body, see! They’re goldsmitheries,

Greed and lust of the Manéis*!

They have in their ears thick ‘arrecadas’,

In their hands (with gloves), thirty coins in rings,

Round their necks, serpents of strings,

And on their chests, among crosses, as swords,

Beyond their own, thirty hearts more!

Come on Georges, turn yourself into a Manel! Take your guitar!

Let’s dance.”


In from António Nobre


* The popular names for the woman and man from Viana do Castelo are Maria and Manel respectively. N.T.


The gold in the Minho’s woman’s chest is not only an ornament but or a symbol of vanity – it is her best symbol of wealth. It’s a splendour, because, “the Minho’s woman’s chest is a sky full of stars”. It is so in such a way that D. António Costa, in No Minho, states: ‘One can speak about registrations, bank shares, interests from lending money, burying it in the backyard, all of that is like talking Greek to her. The heart of the woman from Minho loves her boyfriend; her imagination dreams about her gold.”


To go to the Notary in order to formalize a certain business, specially as far as the selling of property is concerned, forces the women of the two parts to present themselves ‘ouradas’ (=covered with gold) with some exaggeration (not much), to show the society that: if they sell, it’s not of financial need; if they buy, they didn’t have to let go of their gold.

To go to the fair to negotiate the products of their farm work – some eggs, a couple of hens, a quarter of beans (divided into two bags, in half-quarters, to make it easy to sell), half a ‘raza’ (ancient measure/weight unit) or a ‘raza’ of potatoes, a ‘talha’ (ancient measure/weight unit) of grease or bacon , some sausages, who knows what else! – one has to consider that as work, but a different one, in which good appearance is important, also to the best development of the business trades. Don’t forget it: the ‘good area’ that differentiates her from the ‘cabaneira’ (=poor woman) is important for a good acceptation of the goods she’s selling. Don’t you hear it so often – “I’ve bought it because of the good air of the ‘lavradeira’ (= woman farmer). I saw that it was something trustworthy!” the ‘air’ of who was selling could be evaluated by the clothes and their clean appearance, as well as by the gold she was wearing – if little, it would give an exaggerated appearance of poverty; if much, she could be called ‘alevantada’ (=wanting to appear wealthier than she really was). All in the right measure.



‘Contas’ Necklaces



  Viana’s ‘Arrecadas’


  Queen Style Earrings

  King Style Earrings

  Earrings with stone "Chapolas" or "Parolo"



Devotional miniatures of the ‘Santíssimo’


Medals, Medallions

Saints Medallions







  Baroque Hallow Cross

  Malta’s Cross or Star

  Rays Cross

  The Lord




Watch Chains


Tie Pins


‘Gramalheira’ Necklaces