Ashmolean Museum Oxford
by The Bill Skinner Studio
An exclusive Ashmolean Museum piece designed for us by renowned jewellery maker Bill Skinner, this beautiful Alfred Jewel stick pin adds a touch of character to any outfit. A realistic replica of one of the museum’s most iconic artefacts, this pin can be worn in a variety of ways. While it looks great on the lapel of a jacket or pinned to a cardigan or a simple dress as a brooch, the Alfred Jewel stick pin can also be used as a practical and attractive adornment on a scarf or even as a tie pin, making it a great gift for any style conscious history fan.
Believed to have been commissioned by the Anglo Saxon King Alfred the Great, who reigned from 871 to 899, the Alfred Jewel is the centrepiece of the Ashmolean Museum’s English archaeological collection – generally considered to be among the finest in the world. Ploughed up in 1693 in a field in North Petherton, Somerset, close to Athelney Abbey, the site from where Alfred launched his counterattack against the Great Army of the Vikings, the Alfred Jewel is engraved with the words ‘AELFRED MEC HEHT GEWYRCAN’. This translates to ‘Alfred ordered me to be made’, strongly connecting this find with the only British monarch to ever have been bestowed with the title of ‘the Great’.
An ornate piece of goldsmith’s work, the filigreed Alfred Jewel is formed around a central cloisonné enamel figure, thought perhaps to represent the sense of sight. This enamel work is protected by a fine slice of rock crystal. Finishing the jewel, and leading experts to believe that its purpose was most likely as the handle of an aestel, or pointer, is an ornate dragon’s head. The dragon’s mouth forms a socket that would have been ideal for holding an ivory stick, used to follow the words of the religious texts which Alfred the Great, famed as a learned man, ordered to be translated from Latin to Anglo Saxon.
A true-to-life replica of the beloved Ashmolean relic, the Bill Skinner Studio’s Alfred Jewel stick pin is crafted in brass with a luxurious 14k gold plating. The central figure is recreated in enamel, protected by a clear optical acrylic lens and the dragon’s head detail, also cast in gold-plated brass, is finished with a genuine freshwater pearl, a lovely finishing touch to this eye-catching piece of jewellery. The stick of this statement pin is finished with a secure push-on pin protector, keeping the pin in place and its sharp end safely covered.
Exclusive to the Ashmolean Museum.
Materials: 14k gold plated brass and enamel
Dimensions: Full length measures approx. 10.5cm long. Jewel section measures approx 3.5cm long including a fresh water pearl.
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