The Magpie's Jewel Box

A treasure trove of sparkly bits and pieces


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Historical jewellery finds: The Esrick Ring

I’m fascinated by the treasures that metal detectorists  (if that’s a proper word) have found in recent years around the UK (see my previous post about the Staffordshire Hoard). So, I was interested to read the latest post on my sister-in-law’s blog about the Escrick Ring, a gold and sapphire ring found in a field near the Yorkshire village of Escrick in 2009. Experts now believe that the ring is older than first thought, dating it to the 5th or 6th century, and they also think it may have been belonged to royalty.

Read the full article by Saesferd.

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NEWS: Brussels airport $50m diamond haul was ‘one of biggest ever’

A huge haul of diamonds, valued at around $50m, was stolen during a daring and well-planned raid at Brussels airport on Monday night.

Disguised as police, armed robbers broke through part of the airport fencing, drove up to a Zurich-bound plane and removed around 120 packages of rough and polished diamonds that had been loaded onto the aircraft.

It was all over in minutes and the robbers escaped back through the fence. No-one was injured.

The diamonds were being transported from Antwerp, the world’s diamond trading hub, to Zurich in Switzerland. According to a spokesperson at the Antwerp World Diamond Centre Monday’s robbery was ‘one of the biggest ever’.

Over 100m euros’ of diamonds move in and out of Antwerp daily and the city has developed a reputation as a secure and discreet diamond centre over many years.

Watch the BBC video report.


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Trollbeads new spring collection banishes winter blues

Here in the Midlands, we’ve just experienced a week of real winter weather: snow, more snow and now wind and rain, so the countryside is looking very drab. All the more reason, then, to check out the lovely new Trollbeads spring collection of nature-inspired glass, silver and gold beads.

The glass beads are in warm pinks, browns and blues, evoking beaches, cliffs, fossils and pebbles. Sea creatures, flowers and butterflies are the themes of the silver beads. All the glass beads are priced at a reasonable £23 while the silver beads start from £23. There are two gold beads in the collection, one based on coral and the other on butterflies but at £300 and £600 respectively, these are a little out of my league!

I really like the nature theme of this collection – it’s warm and earthy and I would add any of these beads to my Trollbead bracelet which currently features all blue beads.

I’m looking forward to checking out the spring collection for real when I visit The Jewellery Show (part of the annual Spring Fair), at NEC Birmingham next Sunday. This major jewellery trade event runs from 3rd to 7th February and all the leading designers and retailers will be there. A true magnet for magpies like me! Look out for my review of the event next week.


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New Anglo Saxon gold and silver finds declared Staffordshire Hoard treasure

81 gold and silver items recently found in the same field as the Staffordshire Hoard, discovered in 2009, have been declared ‘Treasure’. The Anglo Saxon objects, dating from the seventh century, include a helmet check piece and cross-shaped mount, will be valued by the Treasure Valuation Committee at the British Museum at the end of March.

The Staffordshire Hoard is the largest collection of Anglo Saxon gold ever to be found in England. The first find, in 2009, consisted of 3,900 gold items. Some of the gold in these pieces was traced to Istanbul in modern-day Turkey and the gems (garnets) to India, demonstrating that the Anglo Saxons were traders.

The original hoard was purchased for £3.3m and Stoke-on-Trent City Council, which jointly owns the hoard with the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, plans to start a fundraising campaign to buy the new items.

A selection of items from the original hoard can currently be viewed in Stoke Museum and at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.  I have seen the collection several times and it is beautiful. Many of the items are set with garnets and the quality of craftsmanship is stunning,  particularly given that many of the pieces are very small.

Look out for more information on the Staffordshire hoard in future posts.