Ashmolean Museum Oxford

Alfred Jewel Brooch

by The Bill Skinner Studio


Designed exclusively for the Ashmolean Museum by celebrated jewellery designer Bill Skinner, this stunning gold brooch is inspired by the Alfred Jewel. Thought to have been commissioned by Anglo Saxon king Alfred the Great during his 9th century AD reign, the Alfred Jewel is one of the museum’s most beloved historic artefacts.

Crafted to closely resemble the famed royal relic, this designer brooch has been cast in glittering 14K gold plated brass and features a genuine freshwater pearl, a luxurious addition to the original design.

The central image, a figure believed by historians to represent the sense of sight, is hand enamelled and protected by a clear optical acrylic lens. Just like the iconic Alfred Jewel itself, this brooch is ringed with the openwork inscription AELFRED MEC HEHT GEWYRCAN, which translates to ‘Alfred ordered me to be made’. The brooch is completed with a gold-plated dragon’s head-like design at its base while a secure brooch pin with locking C clasp keeps it firmly in place, giving the owner peace of mind when wearing this precious jewellery item out and about.

A beautiful addition to a jacket or cardigan and ideal for fastening a scarf, this unique craftsman made gold brooch with pure white pearl detail is the perfect gift for the most stylish of history buffs and will be instantly recognisable to Ashmolean visitors, who will undoubtedly love what is widely regarded as among the most treasured pieces in the museum’s vast collection. Quite unlike any other piece of commercially available jewellery, this brooch is a real talking point and is bound to be treasured for a lifetime.

Unearthed in 1693 during the ploughing of a field, what is now known as the Alfred Jewel was discovered in North Petherton, Somerset, just a few short miles from Athelney Abbey from where King Alfred the Great (r. 871 – 899) launched his counter attack against the Great Army of the Vikings. The Alfred Jewel is believed to be the handle of an Anglo Saxon aestel, or pointer, used to help readers follow the text in religious manuscripts. It’s generally thought that the dragon’s head portion of the Alfred Jewel would have held the aestel’s stick-like pointer, likely made of ivory and held in place by a rivet. Made of filigreed gold, the Alfred Jewel features a delicate cloisonné enamel decoration, in turn protected by a slice of rock crystal, or quartz. Over a thousand years old, the Alfred Jewel features an inscription that indicates that the aestel was probably commissioned by King Alfred himself, the only British Monarch to have been honoured with the title ‘the Great’.

Frequently asked questions about the Alfred Jewel Brooch.

What is the Alfred Jewel Brooch made from?

In keeping with the real historic artefact, our Alfred Jewel replica brooch is made using 14K gold plated brass and enamel. The central enamel design is protected by a transparent acrylic optical lens and the brooch is finished with a genuine freshwater pearl. The brooch is secured to clothing using a reliable pin to the rear along with a locking C clasp.

Who designed the Alfred Jewel Brooch?

The Alfred Jewel brooch has been exclusively designed and crafted for the Ashmolean Museum by The Bill Skinner Studio, based in Kent, UK. Trained at the John Cass College of Art, master craftsman Bill Skinner has worked with renowned jewellery brands including Van Cleef & Arpels, Garrard and Asprey. He has also earned numerous royal commissions since beginning his career in the 1980s. Launched in 2012 to great acclaim, Bill’s eponymous brand creates gold plated costume jewellery often featuring enamelled detailing and gemstones.

Bill Skinner’s collaboration with the Ashmolean Museum is inspired by one of the museum’s most treasured possessions and aims to be the most faithful reproduction possible.

Is the Alfred Jewel Brooch for women?

An eye catching piece of jewellery, the Alfred Jewel brooch is suitable for any wearer. A faithful reproduction of a much celebrated historic artefact, this gold brooch for men or women will bring a touch of style to any outfit. It’s also a real talking point with a uniquely special story behind it.

Is the Alfred Jewel Brooch be supplied in a presentation box?

Ideal gifts for loved ones, all items in the Bill Skinner Studio Alfred Jewel jewellery collection are supplied in a smart pink and grey pouch featuring Bill Skinner branding. This soft pouch is an attractive alternative to the traditional box and makes transporting your brooch easy, keeping much loved jewellery safe from the potential of damage when travelling.

How much will delivery of my brooch cost?

Ashmolean Museum shop orders of over £65 are shipped for free within the UK only. For purchases totalling less than £65 after discounts are applied shipping costs will be calculated based on the overall weight of your order.

International shipping will be calculated based on the weight of your order and orders to addresses outside of the UK may be subject to local customs duty or taxes.

Find out more information on shipping costs.

How long will it take for my brooch to arrive?

Items are usually dispatched within seven days, although we do aim to get your order out to you as soon as possible. Wherever possible we will send valuables such as jewellery using DHL, meaning that your package can be tracked after leaving our premises. Other orders will be sent by Royal Mail First Class with delivery expected two to five days after dispatch. Find out more information about shipping times.

Can I collect my brooch from the Ashmolean Museum?

Orders from the museum shop can be collected from the Ashmolean’s welcome desk, which is located in the museum’s main atrium. Collections can be made Monday to Friday, from 10am to 4pm, however you should wait for an email notification that your order is ready for collection before visiting.

What if I choose to return my brooch purchase?

We’re sure that you’ll love your Alfred Jewel brooch, however if something isn’t quite right you can contact us by email or phone to arrange a full refund which should reach your bank account within ten working days.

Materials: 14k gold-plated brass, enamel, & acrylic with a fresh water pearl

Dimensions: approx 5cm length