Middleham Jewel

Contributed by Yorkshire Museum

Gold and Sapphire Medieval pendant from Middleham, North Yorkshires © York Museums Trust (Yorkshire Museum)

This beautiful gold pendant opens to hold an even more treasured item - a holy relic associated with a saint.The Middleham Jewel is a 15th-century pendant made by one of the finest medieval London goldsmiths, and unearthed by a metal detectorist near Middleham Castle. Only a wealthy and powerful person could have commissioned such a jewel. In fact, the owner may well have been royal or noble. Its real significance may be in the story of its imagery. Its owner, most probably a woman, had it adorned with images of the Trinity, the Nativity, prayers and saints. These all had significance surrounding childbirth. The pendant opens and is thought to have contained the holy relic of a saint. In fact, the owner may well have been royal, or at the least, noble. The metal detectorist - Ted Seaton - at first thought he'd found an old powder compact, until he got it home. His discovery was adjudged not to be Treasure Trove and was sold first at auction and then acquired by the Yorkshire Museum with support from many funders including The Art Fund.

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15th century


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