Historic and Mysterious Jewelry Collection on Exhibit in London

  • Photo by Museum of London
    Salamander Brooch Photo by Museum of London
  • Photo by Museum of London
    Cabochon Emerald Ring Photo by Museum of London
  • Photo by Museum of London
    Ruby and Diamond Bow Pendant Photo by Museum of London
  • Photo by Museum of London
    Emerald Carved Parrott (left) Bloodstone Carved Strawberry Leaf (right) Photo by Museum of London
  • Photo by Museum of London
    Reliquary Locket Photo by Museum of London
  • Photo by Museum of London
    Grape Pendant (left) and Emerald Watch (right) Photo by Museum of London
  • Photo by Museum of London
  • Photo by Museum of London
  • Photo by Museum of London
  • Photo by Museum of London
  • Photo by Museum of London
  • Photo by Museum of London

When a demolition crew in 1912 discovered a cache of some 500 jewelry pieces and gems buried in a Cheapside cellar in London, they had no idea they had uncovered one of the greatest jewelry finds of the 20th century. This extraordinary and priceless cache of late-16th- and early-17th-century jewelry and gemstones is on display as a collection for the first time at the Museum of London through April 2014. The Cheapside Hoard: London’s Lost Jewels, sponsored by Fabergé and the mining company Gemfields, is considered a significant historical find because there is very little well-preserved jewelry from this era, and this vast 300-year-old collection is in exceptional condition.

While the original owner of the collection is unknown, it is believed to have been a goldsmith and jewelry trader. According to the senior curator, Hazel Forsyth of the Museum of London, the Cheapside Hoard is the most important known collection of Elizabethan and Jacobean jewelry. It includes surprisingly simple, delicate, and light designs, such as several gold rings with square-cut colored gemstone centers and chandelier earrings made of gemstones carved into clusters of grapes. Chains of enamel and gold decorated with floral motifs appear as though they could be contemporary jewelry design. A highlight of the collection is an exquisite watch set in a single large emerald with a translucent green-enamel dial. (+44.207.001.9844, www.museumoflondon.org.uk)

The jewelry house Miseno is named for an ancient city said to magically bring joy to its residents…
Davies takes an ancient Greek jewelry technique and makes it fresh and modern…
Rough-cut diamonds give a fresh twist to the latest creations from De Beers…
The designer crafted a collection of fine jewelry that is both timeless and cutting-edge…
First popular during the 1920s, big, bold cocktail rings are making a comeback…
Jewelers Alex Soldier, Coomi, Pasquale Bruni, and others are getting back in touch with nature…
These designs dazzle with simple shapes presented in extravagant ways…
Photo by Michael Oldford
Assael’s diamond-and-rare-pearl jewelry depicts and aids endangered animals…
The historically inspired necklace is part of Boucheron’s new Bleu de Jodhpur collection…
The London jeweler employs rare fossilized wood to create her pieces…