Raindrops on roses are all very nice, but to really make the hearts of the TNHG go pitter-pat, just show them old jewelry.
Now everyone knows about the famous jewels like those royal baubles kept in the Tower of London or the legendary pearl "B" necklace of Anne Boleyn (left), but non-royal people in the 16th century loved fine jewelry, too. Renaissance London was famous for its goldwork, with one astonished visitor counting fifty-two goldsmiths' shops along the merchant's street of Cheapside.
This would be only one more dry history factoid except for something inelegantly called the Cheapside Hoard. In 1912, workmen demolishing a 17th century building discovered a decaying wooden box beneath a brick floor, stashed there by some long-forgotten goldsmith. Inside the box were over 500 pieces of 16th-17th century jewelry: gold and silver, enamel-work and precious stones, rings, pendants, chains, earrings, and watches. No wonder it's regarded as the greatest cache of Elizabethan jewelry in the world, and that there's already a major exhibition in the works to celebrate the centennial of the discovery in 2012.
These aren't huge Marie-Antoinette style diamonds for court wear, but things a NHG could imagine easily wearing for everyday. While the Hoard is now scattered among three museums, including the Victoria & Albert and the British Museum, the majority of the pieces are in the London Museum, which also has the best pictures on line.
Go ahead, browse a bit. Does the emerald pendant carved into a parrot catch your eye? Or is the diamond-studded hat ornament in the shape of a salamander more to your taste? We have our favs, and you probably will, too.