Jewelry of Power & Prestige: Cheapside Hoard
The story told in this lecture sounds more like fiction than reality: a collection called “an Aladdin’s cave” of jewelry buried underground and forgotten for nearly 300 years.
Historian Carol Ann Lloyd shares the journey of a vast collection of jewels and other items that was hidden away, then discovered in 1912 under one of London’s busiest streets. When the collection finally came to light, the “Cheapside Hoard” included nearly 500 pieces of rare surviving Elizabethan and Stuart jewelry including rings, brooches and enameled chains; cameos and scent bottles; and even a salt cellar.
The sparkling gems have plenty of stories to tell, opening a window into how royals and the nobility in the 16th and 17th century used jewelry to establish and communicate power. The pieces also explain how overseas trading routes and goods from across the world affected life in England. Only displayed in 1914 and at the Museum of London in 2013, the Cheapside Hoard is one of the greatest sources for understanding the impact of luxury items and global exploration on political and personal power in early modern England.