Birmingham experts use digital technology to rediscover secrets of “lost jewels”


The Goldsmiths’ Centre – the home for goldsmiths – will provide the venue to rediscover the “lost” skills of 17th century jewellery-makers and highlight how modern technology has helped rediscover the past.



Dr Ann Marie Carey and Keith Adcock, part of a team of experts from Birmingham City University, will take visitors back in time to the dark workshops and narrow streets of late 16th and early 17th century London to reveal the secrets of the Cheapside Hoard, a collection of Elizabethan and Jacobean jewellery.


The Birmingham City University researchers will join expert senior curator Hazel Forsyth, from the Museum of London, as they explore the Cheapside Hoard, a landmark collection of historic gems(1), as part of a free seminar at The Goldsmiths’ Centre, the home of the leading charity for the professional training of goldsmiths.


The Cheapside Hoard seminar takes place on Thursday, November 21, at 11.00am at the Goldsmiths’ Centre in central London.


“This event will focus upon the fascinating work undertaken around reproducing, re-engineering and recreating items from the Cheapside Hoard using laser scanning, computer aided design, rapid prototyping, laser sintering and, of course, more traditional craft techniques,” explained Dr Ann Marie Carey, a research fellow at the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, part of Birmingham City University.


‘The Cheapside Hoard: London’s Lost Jewels’ is currently on display at the Museum of London – and features replica items reproduced by the Birmingham City University team using high-tech scanning and 3D printing technology.


A collaborative project between Museum of London and researchers at Birmingham City University’s Jewellery Industry Innovation Centre has investigated a select number of artefacts over the past two years.


“The project has combined analysis of craft techniques with a range of digital technologies, – including laser scanning, CAD and 3D printing,” said Dr Ann-Marie Carey.


“Digital technologies provide a unique and entirely novel way of looking at these artifacts. They have enlarged the boundaries of what is possible to explore and they offer a conduit to the past that conventional curatorial and scientific methods of investigation are unable to supply.


“This technical event will provide an insight into the work behind a number of exhibits in the exhibition. As with most projects some aspects of the project worked incredibly well, while others required a bit of head scratching and a new approach to the problem. Combining traditional craftsmanship and skills with cutting edge digital technologies has provided significant and surprising results.”



1) When the Hoard was found, on a site owned by the Goldsmiths’ Company, it was heralded as a landmark in the history of the jewellers’ craft because so little jewellery of this quality and date – ie late 16th and early 17th century – has survived. The artefacts of the hoard embody the cultural and technological advances of their time, an intriguing time capsule and a rare link to our goldsmithing heritage.

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