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House Leitão

History

Originating in Porto at the beginning of the 19th century, in 1822. House Leitão became a reference in Jewellery when it was appointed, in 1873, by D. Pedro II, Emperor of Brazil, Goldsmith of the Brazilian Imperial House and, in 1887, by D. Luís I, King of Portugal, Jewellers of the Portuguese Crown.

The Story

The title of Crown Jewellers led House Leitão to move from Porto to Lisbon, near the Court, where it established a "modern" goldsmith's workshop that is still in operation today.

With shops in Lisbon and Cascais - Chiado, Bairro Alto and Arcadas do Parque Estoril - House Leitão represents modernity, character and quality in Jewellery, integrating the most up-to-date design and manufacturing techniques into traditional production processes.

House Leitão also stands out in the manufacture of bespoke and customised pieces, namely engagement rings, jewellery, cutlery, tableware, as well as maintenance and restoration.

These services, accompanied by the workshop's team of professionals, where knowledge is passed down from generation to generation, show a distinctive character, a distinctive factor of Leitão & Irmão.

The most memorable moments in our history

1822 - Foundation of House Leitão & Irmão

José Pinto Leitão registered the "JPL" punch (personal mark of manufacture) and opened his business in Rua das Flores, the classic street of goldsmiths in Porto.

"... The type of establishment at that time was the shop-officina, where the officer worked in full view of the customer, next to the "coffin", the sales counter next to it. The typical article produced was the "heart", the "arrecada", the "cordão", the pieces that in the north were taken to the feast, the sung mass, the "arraial"..."

1872 - Appointment of Goldsmith of the Imperial House of Brazil

D. Pedro II, Emperor of Brazil, grants Leitão & Irmão the title of "Goldsmith of the Imperial House of Brazil". The link between the Crown and the House Leitão dates back to the siege of Porto (1832 / 1833), where José Teixeira da Trindade established private relations with D. Pedro IV of Portugal and I of Brazil.

1877 - Opening of the Lisbon Store

Opening of the shop in the cosmopolitan area of Chiado, in Lisbon. Leitão & Irmão, with the brothers Narciso and José, develops its activity in the capital of the kingdom benefiting from the proximity of the court. During this period, they undertook the artistic project of restoring the traditions of Portuguese jewellery, marking the renewal of jewellery in the second half of the 19th century.

1886 - Jewellery of Queen Amélia

Jewellery given by the Portuguese royal family to Princess Amélia of Orleans on the occasion of her marriage to Charles, the future king of Portugal.

The set consisted of a brilliant diadem given by King Luís; a brilliant necklace by Queen Maria Pia; a brilliant and sapphire necklace chosen by Prince Carlos; a pair of tortoiseshell, gold and brilliant binoculars by Prince Afonso and a brilliant brooch by Prince Augusto. Among these jewels, the diamond diadem worn in 1995 by D. Isabel at her wedding to D. Duarte de Bragança stands out.

1887 - Title of Crown Jewellers

On 1 December, King Luís awarded Leitão & Irmão the title of "Jewellers of the Crown".

Leitão & Irmão continued to be the Royal Household's choice for creating gifts for family, friends and personalities.

Queen Maria Pia was also an enthusiastic and loyal customer. She played a decisive role in the acquisition of countless utilitarian and decorative objects, in silver and gold, most of them of refinement and sobriety, revealing a preference for the aesthetics of neo-rocaille.

1900 - Collaboration with Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro

Baixela Barahona, considered a masterpiece of Portuguese jewellery. The design and modelling were entrusted to Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro, one of the great artists of the time.

1907 - Citizenship Vault

Cofre da Cidadania, given to Prince Luís Filipe during the royal trip to the Portuguese colonies in Africa in 1907.

It was manufactured in the Bairro Alto workshops by two Portuguese master silversmiths: João da Silva, a young and promising chiseller, apprenticed in the Bairro Alto workshops and later trained in Paris and Geneva, and Júlio Rodrigues Pinto, head of the workshop. In chiselled silver and with four ivory tusks applied to the lid, it rests on four rhinoceroses and bears figures of natives on the edges.

1917 - Art Deco cutlery

In the third generation, Jaime de Castro Leitão took over the house. He studied in Paris, where he socialised with the great artists of the "Belle Époque". With René Lalique he designed different pieces, including a silver cutlery set, registered in 1917, which is still in production today.

1939 - The Portuguese Cup Trophy is held.

Cup of Portugal in chiselled silver. The cup refers to the Discoveries, with caravels chiselled in different places of the trophy. Above the caravels, the five corners stand out. Above the wings is the armillary sphere, surmounted by the cross of Christ, references of Portugal.

1942 - Manufaturing of the Precious Crown for the Image of Our Lady of Fatima

Crown of Our Lady of Fatima, one of the most popular Portuguese jewellery. Offered by the Portuguese as a sign of gratitude for their children having been spared the dramas of World War II.

The crown, in gold and precious stones, the result of a national campaign of gifts entrusted to the Leitão house, was worked for three months by twelve craftsmen and has 313 pearls and 2679 precious stones set in gold.

Nearly half a century later, in 1984, this work gained further prominence when Pope John Paul II offered Our Lady of Fatima the bullet that hit him in the attack of 13 May 1981 at the Vatican. The bullet found a perfect fit in the empty space left in 1942 at the junction of the eight rods that make up the Queen's crown.

1981 - Manufacturing of the Nativity Scene with the artist Graça Costa Cabral

Leitão & Irmão restructures from its industrial origins.

Inspired by John Paul II's visit to Portugal, the workshop in Bairro Alto began to execute the nativity scene designed by the sculptor Graça Costa Cabral. The sculptor's rigorous plastic interpretation, the glitters, the textures and matrices required a new process that produced pieces without seams, welds or joints, respecting the original carved in a single block.

The process merged the expertise of craftsmen with cutting-edge technology. The first author's proofs were offered to Pope John Paul II in 1982 during his first pilgrimage to Fatima.

2004 - l'Art de la Table Award

The Pedro Leitão Baixela, an example of the association between jewellery and renowned artists, is a new symbol of current affairs. Proposed by gastronome José Bento dos Santos, it was honoured in Paris with the Prix de l'Art de la Table, awarded by the Academie Internationale de La Gastronomie.

2005 - Reopening of the shop in Chiado

After the closure of the Chiado shop, the shop reopened in Lisbon's most cosmopolitan spot.

2009 - Leitão & Irmão Patent, for an Innovative Diamond Setting

Solitaire collection - platinum and diamonds. The diamond is left suspended over another diamond that illuminates it. An innovative and exclusive setting by House Leitão.

2017 - Crown of the New Millennium for Our Lady of Fatima

Queen's crown designed for the image of Our Lady.

The Crown is an interpretation of the original Crown created by Leitão e Irmão in 1942 and redesigned in the early 21st century for the image of Our Lady of Fatima crowned in Westminster Cathedral in the UK in 2017, the centenary year of the apparitions.

The "Crown of the New Millennium" also crowned the image of Our Lady of Fatima in the Cathedral of Lisbon, where it has been on display since 8 December 2017.

2020 - Fire in the Chiado shop

15 years after the reopening of the Leitão & Irmão shop in Chiado, it suffers a fire in 2020, in the middle of Covid. In 6 months the shop is renovated and reopens to welcome its customers in its new Flagship store.

2021 - Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy

Design and manufacture of the trophy for the Mirpuri Foundation.

2022 - Leitão & Irmão Bicentenary

Now in its sixth generation in the family, Leitão & Irmão honours its 200-year history and welcomes the future of the brand.

Our partnerships

Leitão & Irmão has established renowned partnerships, combining jewellery tradition with a contemporary vision.

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Our team is always available to help you find the perfect jewellery for any moment.

E.  onlineshop@leitao-irmao.com

T. +351 211 994 104
(call to the Portuguese landline network)

W. +351 916 547 306
(call to the Portuguese mobile network)

H. Monday to Friday | 9h00-18h00

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