Cheapside Hoard’s priceless jewellery exhibition

Maria Doulton: Today I’m at the Museum of
London and I’m here to find out more about the Cheapside Hoard. This incredible cache
of Elizabethan jewellery was discovered in 1912 at Cheapside, just around the corner
from here. But now it’s the first time that all 500 pieces have come together, curated
by Hazel Forsyth, who’s going to tell us more about the history and what you can expect
to see when this exhibition opens in October. Hazel Forsyth: Well it was one of those extraordinary
chance finds by workmen in June of 1912. They were demolishing buildings in Cheapside in
the city of London, and as they did so this extraordinary cache of gems and jewels came
tumbling forth. The material itself ranges from certainly
the Elizabethan period to 1620, 1630. When it was found the treasure was taken to a man
known by the navvies as Stony Jack, otherwise George Fabian Lawrence. He was really instrumental
in acquiring the collection for the then newly formed London Museum. First of all you can see, I think, just how
fabulous it is as an emerald and the fact that this stone comes from Columbia and the
watch is set into this case, which has been gauged out. The movement has fused in with
the crystal so we can’t actually take it out, and therefore we can’t really see whether
it has a signature. I love this because it’s very charming and
it’s very different. I think from a gem perspective it’s fascinating because again, it has mostly
Columbian emeralds but it also has diamonds. All the diamonds in this period were sourced
from India. This is one of three counterfeit jewels in
the hoard. This is made from glass paste and the glass has been analysed and both the red
and green are compositionally very similar. This piece, on the other hand, it’s very characteristic
of the sort of jewels that started to come in in the early 17th century. They’re not
in the best of conditions in some cases, so we’ve got parts of chains, in some cases longer
or shorter lengths. Maria Doulton: But Hazel this is just a little
sample of what we can expect. Hazel Forsyth: Yes, I know, and I’m really
looking forward to putting it all out on show and to try and make sure everything looks
its very best. It’s a labour of love and quite a challenging task. Maria Doulton: We look forward to seeing it
all. Thank you. If you want to know all that’s happening in the world of jewellery and watches
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7 thoughts on “Cheapside Hoard’s priceless jewellery exhibition

  1. "It is a labour of love." Well said indeed. And it has always been a labour of love since it was acquired for the museum in 1912. So look forward to seeing it in person one day.

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