When I set out to design the details on the jeweled box for my parents, I was thinking of the ornate and lavish decorations in the interior of Sintra’s Palácio Nacional.  Many rooms are a riot of color; gilded and painted ceilings paired with blue and white tiled walls which depict various courtly scenes:

Sintra Palace - Meeting Room

One room, in particular, is quite eye-catching.  The entire ceiling is constructed of gilded panels depicting swans in different poses:

Sintra Palace - Swan Room

This motif became the inspiration for the inside of my jeweled box:

Watercolor and Gouache Jeweled Box Rendering by Joana Miranda

I chose to render the swan body as a baroque pearl.  I also gave the swan a pavé diamond neck and emerald eyes.  In addition to having a collar of yellow gold, my swan is standing on a base of malachite.  The inside of the box is finished with maroon and blue enamel.  Here is the finished rendering in its entirety:

Watercolor and Gouache Jeweled Box Rendering Shown Open and Closed by Joana Miranda

I presented this rendering to my parents this past weekend when they came to visit and celebrate an early Christmas with me.  This is one of those renderings that looks even better in real life than it does scanned for computer.  You’ll just have to invite yourself over to tea at my parent’s if you want to see it “live.”


  1. mom says:

    And you’d be welcome to tea, to see this most exquisite rendering, from our dear talented child!
    It’s really stunning.

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