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  • Date:

    Probably 1500 - 1600 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Rock crystal mounted in cabochon rubies and sapphires set in gold.

  • Credit Line:

    Lent from the collections at Berkeley Castle

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:MET ANON.2:2-1998

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 57, case 10

Object Type
It appears that no comparable Indian bracelets from this date have survived. The tradition is that it was one of Queen Elizabeth's gifts to Lord Hunsdon. In the inventory of Elizabeth's jewels in 1587 there is a description of a similar bracelet, which might be the same one: it was 'of rock crystal set with sparcks of Rubies powdered and little sparckes of saphiers made hoopwise called Persia worke'.

By family tradition the bracelet was a present from Elizabeth I to Henry Carey, (1526-1596), 1st Baron Hunsdon, first cousin of The Queen. He was the son of Mary Boleyn, sister of Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth's mother. He had a prominent career as a courtier and soldier. He played an important role in the suppression of the rebellion of the northern earls in 1570, was appointed Lord Chamberlain in 1586, and was a commissioner at the trial of Mary, Queen of Scots in 1587. When the Armada threatened in 1588, he commanded Elizabeth's bodyguard at Tilbury in 1588.

This is one of the four Hunsdon jewels which have long been associated with Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire and have been lent as a group to the British Galleries. One of the jewels, the Hunsdon Onyx, is mentioned specifically in the will of George Carey (1547-1603), 2nd Baron Hunsdon, dated 10 May 1599.


Probably 1500 - 1600 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Rock crystal mounted in cabochon rubies and sapphires set in gold.


Depth: 1.3 cm, Width: 9 cm

Descriptive line

Rock crystal bracelet mounted with cabochon rubies and sapphires set in gold. Probably made in the Indian subcontinent, 16th century.

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

Ancestral Jewels, page 14, by Diana Scarisbrick


Rock crystal; Ruby; Sapphire; Gold


Jewellery; Metalwork; Scotland


Metalwork Collection

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