This lesser known portrait of an unknown woman by Peter Paul Rubens titled, "Young Woman With a Rosary", is not actually about this woman, her assumed piety, or her youth. This portrait is ultimately about wealth, power, and social climbing. A portrait of this sort, which by its very existence conveyed the wealth of the family, if not the lady herself, was meant, largely, to present her as a suitable match to another wealthy family, and also to proclaim in the loudest possible way, the education, refinement, and station of the family as a whole, not only the person represented. As the visual emissary, she is taking the heat for supporting the primacy of her entire clan. As such, the clothing she wears must in every respect reflect all the aspects they most wish to present.
The gown she wears is unrelieved black, implying a soberness of demeanor, and common sense. Her corseted bodice however, is of silver silk, and lavished embroidered with gold arabesques, communicating the wealth of her dowry to come. The fact that this intensely embellished part of her clothing is closest to her body, and closest to where her sexual organs are is not an accident. Much is implied by this, too. She also wears a long gold chain girdle, probably with a pomander at the end point, which would indicate she is a lady of refinement, who is accustomed to high levels of cleanliness. Her glass, or possibly quartz crystal rosary, is the sort of item only the richest could afford, so this small cue is a loud indicator to any who look at this painting, of the lady's worthiness as a wife. She is suspected of being pious, sensible, virtuous. And lastly, her vast ruff collar, cuffs, and headdress of hand worked lace, are of the costliest, and the most profound expression of the bounty being offered.