Bejewelled Museum of London

Shradha Ramesh unearths the tale of green stone ‘The Cheapside Hoard: London’s Lost Jewels’

New York: Like The Castafiore Emerald in The Adventures of Tin Tin, one is found caught in the glittery mystery of hoard found near St. Paul’s Cathedral, London. A collection of 400 pieces of 16th and 17th century jewellery box that belonged to Queen Elizabethan and Jacobean found buried in a cellar in Cheapside. The stories and assumption of the hoard burial is vast and varying. Significance of the hoard as mentioned by curator Hazel Forsyth is “It is the largest hoard of its kind, dating from the very late 16th to the early 17th century. Part of the reason why it’s so important is that jewelry tends to be broken up, refashioned, reworked, and so therefore doesn’t survive. Because this was buried and lay undisturbed for the better part of 300 years, it survived in the condition that it has. And it covers a huge spectrum of jewelry designs and types, but also gem material from many parts of the world, which really underlines London’s role in the international gem and jewelry trade in this period.”

Watch|Colombian emerald crystal|1600 circa

Watch|Colombian emerald crystal|1600 circa. Image Credit: http://www.gia.edu/gems-gemology/FA13-cheapside-hoard-weldon

The sensational jewellery exhibit this year is ‘The Cheapside Hoard: London’s Lost Jewels’ showcased by the Museum of London. With luminous green Columbian emerald watch that allows you to read time through a closed lucid lid that makes one completely spell bound and speechless. And the man-made craftsmanship accentuates the beauty of the gemstone. To further enhance the visual milieu of mineral species of green stones the beryl Gemfields ‘Medusa’ emerald entrapped in its natural existence and being enveloped by crystal quartz adds the much needed emphasis. The emerald permeates light and invites attention of the spectators from across the room.

According to Saffronart jewellery guide, the emeralds from Columbia South America are world renowned and the ‘Emerald belt ‘of America is found in Cordillera Oriental mountain range of the Andes. And among emeralds from around the world, the gemstone is believed to ward off evil and cure diseases like cholera and malaria. The underlying theme and reference to Columbian emeralds were romance and were also subject to adventures of sixteenth-century Spanish plunder and trade. A gemstone with rich history and mystery makes it a must see this winter.

A salamander brooch made from Colombian cabochon emeralds and table-cut diamonds from India, set in gold. It originates from somewhere between the 16th and 17th century, when the salamander had particular symbolic significance.

A salamander brooch made from Colombian cabochon emeralds and table-cut diamonds from India, set in gold. It originates from somewhere between the 16th and 17th century, when the salamander had particular symbolic significance. Image Credit: http://www.thejewelleryeditor.com/2013/10/two-extraordinary-emeralds-are-set-to-draw-the-crowds-at-the-cheapside-hoard-exhibition-in-london/

Gemfields' 'Medusa' emerald from the quartz rock|Discovered in Zambia in 2008

Gemfields’ ‘Medusa’ emerald from the quartz rock|Discovered in Zambia in 2008. Image Credit: http://www.thejewelleryeditor.com/2013/10/two-extraordinary-emeralds-are-set-to-draw-the-crowds-at-the-cheapside-hoard-exhibition-in-london/

The exhibit runs at the Museum of London from 11 October 2013 – 27 April 2014 for a span six months.

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