Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Cheapside Hoard: Part II Sparkly Things

It is almost impossible to describe the objects in the hoard. My voice gets higher and squeakier and I can only say things like 'OMG', 'Fantastic', 'Amazing' etc.  Here are some of the Things, arranged to look like they might have, when found.  All the pictures here are from the internet - since we couldn't take pictures inside the exhibition, which was guarded by Gurkhas. Really.

There were so many jewels, far more than I imagined. And I couldn't get over incredible skill of the jewelers - who were working with tools that hadn't changed much in a thousand years. And the jewels were exquisite-  To wit:

The Emerald Watch. I didn't even know there were watches in the mid 17th century. But there were two in the hoard and the other is also beautiful. This one is a watch, embedded in a single, enormous, beautifully faceted emerald. The face of the watch is a hinged slice from the emerald, thin enough that you can see the time through it.

Then there's this tiny scent bottle.  Things didn't smell so good in the 17th century, and so the wealthy carried scent bottles with them for times of need.
This little thing is exquisite and it's made of moonstone and emerald and ruby and enamel and gold.

Then, what about the lizard brooch?  I love this - gold and Colombian emeralds in a cabochon cut, African diamonds, with enamel underneath and around the feet:

And this brooch of amethysts, diamonds and gold:

And all of these: 

There were quite a few variations on the grape cluster earrings in different stones.  How did they make the tiny rounded clusters from extraordinarily hard emeralds with no power tools?  And the thing on the right - it's a little rounded cage, once set with dozens of pearls (only a few remain) and with a dingly dangly umbrella like structure on top, that had pearls hanging from it.  No one knows how it was meant to be worn - there were several in the hoard, but there are no other examples and none appear in pictures.  They are clearly meant to dangle, but not as a pendant against a dress - because they are rounded.

This thing reminds me of a cross I have from the COGs mum, only mine is garnets not diamonds and amethysts and it's Victorian.

Look at the skill involved in this cameo of Elizabeth I carved from stone:

And look at the fine work in this piece carved in bloodstone.  I think this may have been a Catholic piece, in a time when it was dangerous to own them:

The thing is - the items above are just a tiny sample of the hoard, and there are so many lovely things I haven't mentioned.  There were rings and brooches and bracelets and delicate necklaces and unset stones, not to mention the stones carved into a tiny squirrel and a parrot and a monkey. So many lovely things.  

And, Oh the necklaces - lovely delicate looping enameled necklaces, the kind Elizabeth I wore that hung down to her stomach:

Such pretty pretty chains:

And there were buttons - lots of very pretty buttons. And Aiglets.  Such a lot of lovely things.

To find out more: watch this terrific BBC program You can watch in 2 parts on You Tube.  To watch Part 1, click here. To watch Part 2, click here. The woman who is featured extensively is Hazel Forsyth from The Museum of London, who spoke with the Dunnett group (sometimes called, we are told, "Du- Nutters") and who wrote the book about the hoard. 

1 comment:

Kate said...

I am astonished that the workmen spared of the jewels for the authorities. OMG, exquisite!