The Cheapside Hoard

A chance discovery uncovers hundreds of rare jewels

‘The Cheapside Hoard: London’s Lost Jewels’ is an extraordinary treasure of 500 rare jewellery pieces from the late 16th and early 17th century, discovered by chance in a London cellar in 1912.

The craftsmanship is attributed to a single goldsmith jeweller, who created exquisite pieces like this one-of-a-kind watch with a translucent green enamel dial mounted in a single large emerald, a cabochon emerald-and-yellow-gold salamander brooch, as well as startling examples of enamel and gem-set Elizabethan necklace chains decorated with floral motifs. ‘

Coloured gemstones, favoured by royalty then as symbols of wealth and power, have had a real revival, with prices per carat for higher-quality rough emeralds having increased sixfold over the past four years and the price of rubies and sapphires growing faster than that of diamonds,’ says Katharina Flohr, Fabergé’s creative and managing director. Peter Carl Fabergé, who was the official goldsmith to the Russian Imperial Court, famously said that he found every gemstone beautiful, regardless of its carat weight, and built his reputation on his skill at showing them to their best advantage.

See the rest of the collection here.

By Debbie Hathway, Private Edition, Issue 22

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