October 15, 2013

The Cheapside Hoard

Sometime in the 1600’s, a goldsmith buried a stash of jewellry, possibly as he was heading off to the Civil Wars. It sat for several hundred years, until 1912, when it was discovered by workmen excavating a cellar floor in London’s Cheapside neighbourhood. They sold it to an antiques dealer who was known for paying workmen for the items they unearthed. More than 500 pieces made up the collection, and soon after it was discovered, it was sold off in bits and pieces, mainly to the Museum of London, but to others as well.image

One hundred years later, the entire collection has been re-assembled in an exhibition at the Museum of London, where it will be until April of 2014.

Many of the pieces in the exhibition, including these pearl-cage pendants, are suspended in light which approximates the Jacobean and Tudor era candle-light. image

I’ve picked some of my favourite pieces from the 400 to share with you. And if/when I am back in London in the spring, you can bet this will surely be on my list.

A deep green reliquary locket

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Gilt brass watch with calendar indications, hour striking and an alarm. The watch is signed G. Ferlite of Geneva, which dates its creation somewhere between 1590 and 1635. It is the only signed piece in the collection.image

A gold and diamond ringimage

Bow pendant with rubies image

A small hinged pocket watch, undoubtedly the most amazing piece of the Hoard.imageimage

And to give you an idea of how small this piece is:image

Amazingly, there are three counterfeit pieces in the Hoard made of glass and paste.

More information on the pieces in the Cheapside Hoard is here. And a lovely video is here.

15 comments:

  1. I can not wait to go!! Am so glad someone made the effort to curate this...

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    1. I know! I really hope I get to see it. It looks like they did a stunning display for this.

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  2. I just find that workman found jewelry stash sell to an antiques deal story fantastic. Why not sell to a jeweler? Why not let the property owners that hired these workmen know of the find? Would not this be considered stealing in this day and age. If these workmen actually found these items where is the provenance. Would not a goldsmith bury these items with some sort of documentation? One person created these items who is to say the "goldsmith" obtained these jewels under questionable circumstances. Oh everyone wants to believe a good story but Tabloid Tales started in England and a sucker is born every minute. I am not a jeweler or an expert in period jewelry this items are beautiful but the rightful owners it seems to me were conned by "workman" and no doubt conned by the antiques dealer "minding" his P's and Q's

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    1. You should read more of the story to understand what happened.

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  3. what an amazing find. I've never head of it - off to learn more!

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  4. The craftsmanship on that watch is phenomenal. The story, too, is ripe for an interesting book or movie, I would say. Please report back when you visit about the show itself,as well as the treasures...suspending the pieces in candlelight to show off their brilliance is, well, brilliant. I am. Sucker for exquisite jewelry. Not to own, so much, but to admire, and this looks like a great exhibit!

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    1. I will report back - you know I have no secrets!

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  5. What an incredible treasure. And to have one that is dated to authenticate the entire lot! I had no idea that watches had been miniaturized at that point in time. I wonder what the value was when they were created. Thank you!
    Mary

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  6. I'm planning to go this weekend. It promises to be a real treat.

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  7. What is that little green pocket watch made of? It isn't jade. What's that brilliant green stone?

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    1. it's a solid emerald crystal, with a thin sliver sliced off for the top, thin enough that you could see the watch through it. amazing.

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  8. Holy shit. I thought it might be an emerald but it seemed too good to be true!

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