Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.


  • Place of origin:

    Europe (north, made)

  • Date:

    1580-1600 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gold, set with hog-back diamonds

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 52, shelf B, box 4 []

This pendant is in the shape of the monogram IHS. A cross rises from the central letter. The gold letters are set with hogback diamonds. The upper part of each of these long stones is shaped like an inverted V with, in this case, a flat table (top) facet. Three diamond-set nails representing those used in the Crucifixion are suspended from a short chain The back of the jewel is enamelled with representations of the symbols of Christ's Passion.
The sacred monogram IHS is derived from the Greek word for Jesus. IHS jewels were very popular throughout Europe from the 15th to 17th centuries and frequently occur in portraits. This pendant is said to have belonged to William Howard, Viscount Stafford. He was beheaded in 1680 for his alleged part in the Popish Plot to kill the Protestant king Charles II.

Physical description

'IHS' pendant, set with diamonds and with a cross rising from central letter; the reverse enamelled with the Instruments of the Passion; suspended from a short chain are three diamond-set nails representing those used in the Crucifixion.

Place of Origin

Europe (north, made)


1580-1600 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Gold, set with hog-back diamonds


Height: 6.0 cm, Width: 3.6 cm, Depth: 0.5 cm

Object history note

The old-fashioned cut of the diamonds probably indicates re-use. Said to have belonged to William Howard, Viscout Stafford, beheaded in 1680 for alleged complicity in the Titus Oates plot.

Descriptive line

'IHS' pendant, gold set with diamonds, Northern Europe, 1580-1600.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Somers-Cock, Anna, Princely Magnificence: court jewels of the Renaissance, 1500-1630, V&A, 1980, p.66, cat. 56


Gold; Diamonds

Subjects depicted

Cross; Nails


ELISE; Religion; Jewellery; Europeana Fashion Project


Metalwork Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.