Cheapside Hoard: London’s Lost Jewels

By | Art & Design
Signed gilt watch and emerald watch. Courtesy of the Museum of London.

The intriguing secrets that surround the Cheapside Hoard have begun to unravel as the hidden past of the collection of jewels discovered in London’s Cheapside in 1912 is revealed through one of its gems. The once overlooked intaglio, a gemstone that has an engraved design, has helped with the uncovering of the mysteries of the Elizabethan and Stuart jewelry.

Stafford Intaglio

Stafford Intaglio

The oval gemstone depicts the coat of arms of the Viscount of Stafford, William Howard who lived from 1612-1680, making it the latest datable piece from the Hoard collection. Evidence gathered from the discovery site shows that damage from the Great Fire in 1666 place the jewels there before this time and after 1640 when Howard gained peerage.

The Museum of London will put on the Cheapside Hoard: London’s Lost Jewels exhibition, where the intaglio along with the other 500 pieces of the collection will be on display for the first time since discovered 100 years ago.

“Ever since the unexpected discovery in June 1912, the Cheapside Hoard has been swathed in mystery, rich in questions that had been left unanswered for too long,” said Hazel Forsyth, the exhibition curator. “The Stafford intaglio has been absolutely vital in shedding new light on the collection, providing crucial dating evidence for the deposition of the Hoard between 1640 and 1666, and making a specific link to an individual who had international connections and a penchant for collecting gems and antiquities.”

The exhibition running from 11th October 2013 to 27th April 2014 will showcase cascading

Salamander Brooch

Salamander Brooch

necklaces, a Columbian emerald watch and finger rings. Many other priceless jewels, many originating from different parts of the world, will be on display giving attendees an insightful look into the tastes and fashions of the Elizabethan and early Stuart period as there are few surviving artifacts of this kind.

Multimedia installations, portraits and other historical memorabilia will enhance the exhibition experience drawing spectators into the opulence of the international jewel trade of the Elizabethan era.

“The Museum of London tells the story of the world’s greatest city and its people. And, as London’s most exciting stash of buried treasure, the Cheapside Hoard tells a thrilling tale of mystery and discovery, with every jewel and gemstone unlocking a story,” said Sharon Ament, the Director of the Museum of London.

Tickets can be purchased by calling 020 7001 9844 or by visiting


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