Charlie Clarke, a 34-year-old café owner from Birmingham, was traveling with a metal detector in Warwickshire, central England, when he believed to have found Henry VIII’s necklace. After initially only finding “garbage”, the detector struck again. Clarke dug about a foot deep and then held a 75-link gold chain with a heart-shaped pendant in her hands. At the time, Clarke was unaware of his sensational find and the true value of the necklace, he told the Guardian.
He went to the British Museum and asked experts there for advice. They initially suspected a forgery, reports the “Smithsonian Magazine”. “We have here the largest collection of precious metal objects from the early Tudor period. Neither of them look like it – they tend to be smaller. Things like this didn’t really survive,” says Rachel King, curator of European Renaissance at the British Museum.
But because the chain looked so special, it was examined by other experts. Various factors such as gold content, tool marks from the manufacturer, processing technique and components revealed that the chain dates back to the 16th century and was made around 1520. It probably belonged to none other than King Henry VIII.
Henry VIII, who was king from 1509 to 1547, had six marriages. Two of them were annulled, two of his wives presumably died naturally, and the king had two others executed.
The necklace may have been for Henry VIII’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon. The pendant is engraved with an ‘H’ and a ‘K’, as well as a play on the French ‘toujours’ and the English ‘all yours’. The marriage later ended in divorce.
However, the possible connection is not proven. Nevertheless, experts are sure that the chain must definitely be connected to a member of the higher nobility. This gem is a real sensational find. Something of this size and importance has not been found in more than two decades, museum curator Rachel King told the Guardian.
The find has now been exhibited in the British Museum and can be viewed there by visitors. The value has yet to be assessed precisely. Then the finder Charlie Clarke and the owner of the site property should each get half of it. Clarke wants to invest the money in the “best possible education” for his four-year-old son. At the moment, however, he only wants to be one thing later on: treasure hunters.
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