Enticing beyond measure the eyes of the beholders
August 28, 2010 7:20 AM   Subscribe

On the 18th June 1912 workmen burst through the floorboards of a disused London tenement at 30-32 Cheapside and discovered "Probably the most remarkable find ever recovered from British soil." The stock of an early Stuart goldsmith - the most astonishing array of precious and semi-precious stones from around the world - hidden c.1630, The Cheapside Hoard is the finest collection of Elizabethan jewellery in the world.

Resting uncatalogued in the vaults of the Museum of London with only a fraction of the 500 or so objects on public display, just a small handful of highlights from this treasure trove can be appreciated online. Little known, and largely kept from public view since their discovery, there are tentative plans to display the jewels fully for the first time in 2012.
posted by fire&wings (15 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
Cool, and I look forward to reading anything about this incredible treasure that isn't that horribly-written Coutts article. I had to stop at 'low and behold'.
posted by carsonb at 7:46 AM on August 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

This is really interesting. Thanks for posting this.
posted by TooFewShoes at 8:52 AM on August 28, 2010

Is this where we get to derail the thread with our feelings about fonts and stuff? OK, I have a question: is 'jewellery' a British spelling? Some of the linked articles use it, but others don't.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:56 AM on August 28, 2010

is 'jewellery' a British spelling?

That's what my dictionary says, and Wikipedia agrees.
posted by jedicus at 9:02 AM on August 28, 2010

That really is a horribly written article.

The legacy of jewellery such as The Cheapside Hoard is felt long into the future. It doesn’t fade away. But it may unfortunately be hidden away.

It reads like Hemingway if someone hit him in the head with a shovel.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 9:05 AM on August 28, 2010 [4 favorites]

I don't care about how the article's written. I'm still as fascinated by the idea of buried treasure today as I was as a child, and this artlcle brought that fascination into focus for me. Cool post!
posted by limeonaire at 9:15 AM on August 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

I like the emerald watch.
posted by fleacircus at 9:24 AM on August 28, 2010 [3 favorites]

Yeah, that's some weird copy.

Fast forward to the 20th century. London has survived the Great Fire and the Plague. The sparkle has disappeared and the tarnish set in. Shops have closed, only a few buildings and tenements survive.

The great fire and the plague were about 250 years earlier. This would be like looking at a run-down section of New York and suggesting it had yet to recover from the Revolutionary War.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:45 AM on August 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

I find most contemporary jewellery just looks cheap and tacky, even if it is made out of valuable stuff, but this is all just so beautiful and exquisitely made, especially the necklaces.
What an incredible thing, to have just found this all in a big pile. I think I ought to tear up my floorboards too.
posted by Flashman at 9:56 AM on August 28, 2010

The take-away message is, when opening ancient floors, consider using some method more gentle than "bursting."
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:07 AM on August 28, 2010

When we were at the British Museum earlier this year, we were struck by the huge number of objects and "hoards" described as being found by small children playing in streams, farmers plowing fields, and workers. It made it seem as if all of the UK contains secret Viking gold or Medieval relics just below the surface.
posted by gingerbeer at 10:21 AM on August 28, 2010 [5 favorites]

Really interesting post, thanks.
posted by Gator at 11:15 AM on August 28, 2010

Brought to mind the Mildenhall Treasure, accidentally plowed up in a farmer's field in 1942.

Roald Dahl wrote a short story on the find (as opposed to the world's discovery of the pieces, which happened long after).
posted by variella at 12:23 PM on August 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

The great fire and the plague were about 250 years earlier. This would be like looking at a run-down section of New York and suggesting it had yet to recover from the Revolutionary War.

Can I just derail here and say that, as an American, it's hard to wrap my brain around just how old the history of Europe is. Sentences like this really take me aback now and then. I probably seem stupid saying that.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 2:21 PM on August 29, 2010

If you want to feel better you can ask some Europeans if they have any idea how big the US is. We mostly think it's possible to drive across it in a day...

Having said that, this find is amazing.
posted by Harald74 at 2:50 AM on August 30, 2010

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