Five must-sees from the Cheapside Hoard
- Museum of London
- 9 October 2013
We pick out the most extraordinary items from the infamous hoard of jewels and gemstones, which is displayed in its entirety for the first time in over 100 years at Museum of London this autumn.
1.Jewelled scented bottle of white enamel and gold, 16th-17th century
One of the most exquisitely executed pieces in the hoard, this gold scent bottle is overlaid with white enamel and set with opaline chalcedony plaques, rubies, pink sapphires and diamonds.
Designed to contain perfume made from flower distillations and spices which were widely used to disguise unpleasant odours, it would have hung from a neck chain or girdle so as to be ready when required.
2. Salamander brooch, 16th-17th century
With cabochon emeralds from Colombia, table-cut diamonds from India and enamelling completed in Europe, this brooch is evidence of an age of global exploration and discovery.
The salamander had symbolic significance in the Tudor and Early Stuart period, as it was thought that it could pass through fire without harm by exuding a milky substance which moistened its skin.
3. The Stafford Intaglio
This cornelian gem is one of the most important items in the collection. It is engraved with the heraldic badge of Stafford – a swan on a wreath within a lozenge surmounted by the coronet of a Viscount – enabling researchers to estimate the approximate date of the hoard as there has only ever been one peerage title given in this name.
Stafford was granted to William Howard, born in 1612 and living until 1680, the year in which he was executed for treason.
4. Gold finger ring, 16th-17th century
The hoard contains a large assortment of both men's and women's rings in a multitude of designs. Typically, they include single faceted or clustered cabochon stones with either an enamelled or plain gold hoop.
This gold finger ring has been enamelled and set with a table-cut garnet.
5. Watch set in a single Colombian emerald crystal, c. 1600
Set in a single large Colombian hexagonal emerald crystal, this watch is a one-of-a-kind and there is no known object from the time to rival it in existence.
The dial plate is enamelled in translucent green and the circular gold suspension loop and button securing the movement at the base are set with small emeralds.