Tuesday, 5 November 2013

The Cheapside Hoard


 A few weeks ago I went to the Museum Of London to see The Cheapside Hoard exhibition.
My mind was blown away and my eyes were almost hurting by so much beauty.
 I was left speechless.
The exhibition covered over 500 pieces of Tudor and early Stuart jewellery (late 16th and early 17th century) which was buried deep underground in London's Cheapside for more than 300 years in the cellar of a jeweller's workshop.
The Cheapside Hoard is the most well preserved in the world; I couldn't believe that such detailed work was handmade so long ago...
The Lost Hoard spills over with  torrents of loose gemstones, faceted, rough or polished into the glossy cabochons favourite in late-Renaissance jewellery. I saw precious emeralds ( the only picture I've dared to snap), rubies, sapphires, amethysts, garnets, agates and unusual brown-mottled "toadstones" which were really fossilised fish teeth ( and here I was totally taken aback).
I don't really have a favourite piece but a certain enamelled gold ring set with a large table-cut diamond would look great nowadays on my finger.
As a jeweller I often find it hard to display my work; this exhibition is definitely the best way, with dark rooms, glass cabinets full of light to illuminate the fine multiple chains, rings, ear rings, cameos, brooches and watches...
I was probably one of the youngest people in the room, surrounded by mature jewellers of Hatton Garden style, who were talking of methods, values, techniques, stones and designs; while I was admiring a gold pin with blister pearl in the form of a ship with fine gold wire mast and rigging, one very fine gentlemen said : " Oh gosh such a beauty, I bet you are dreaming to wear something like that" my instinctive answer was rather: " I wish I could make something like that".