A British amateur researcher using a metal detector found a gold chain and a pendant with the initials of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon in Warwickshire. Experts date the jewelry to the beginning of the 16th century, the most likely date is 1521, when Heinrich was married to Catherine.
The jewelry is made of gold, the heart-shaped pendant is attached to a gold chain of 75 links. On the front of the pendant, there is a red and white Tudor rose entwined with pomegranate (symbols of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon). On the reverse side of the pendant, there are the initials “H” and “K” (Henry and Catherine), displayed in Lombard script and tied with a ribbon.
It is believed that the jewelry could be a prize worn by participants in a particular event. Specialists of the British Museum, who studied the artifact, name the probable date of its creation as 1521. The first marriage of the English king lasted 24 years (1509–1533) and was annulled due to the lack of male heirs.
The divorce of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon caused the Church Reformation in England, in total the monarch had six wives.
The renaissance-era pendant was a find of such magnitude that the amateur detectorist who discovered it was speechless, and the expert who unraveled its mysteries spent two years studying it. Charlie Clarke had been metal detecting for only half a year when he discovered a gold pendant in Warwickshire, in the English West Midlands region, in 2019.
“It was just amazing,” Clark said in an interview with CNN. “No one thinks you’ll ever pull something like that, especially in my lifetime – I can imagine in 30 lifetimes.”
The renaissance-era pendant weighs 300 grams (10.6 ounces) and is shaped like a heart. One side is decorated with a Tudor rose intertwined with a pomegranate bush growing from the same branch. Both sides are adorned with TOVS + IORS, a pun on the French word “toujours” meaning “forever”.
Still new to the world of metal detectors, Clark consulted an expert at the Regton store in Birmingham and contacted the British Museum as well as the coroner to let them know what he had found.
When she was first informed of the “once-in-a-generation find,” Rachel King, curator of Renaissance Europe at the British Museum, was forced to sit down, she told CNN.
After the renaissance-era pendant was transferred to the British Museum, a scientific analysis was carried out to determine if it was really a Tudor pendant or just costume jewelry.
After King and her colleagues realized that the same motif was present on other items and that some parts of the pendant appeared to have been made quickly, they speculated that it could have been used as a prize or worn as part of a costume during a tournament or duel, which Henry liked to arrange so much, and not for the king or his wife.
“This item just emerged from the ground, as if it had fallen from the sky,” King said. “We have the opportunity to study an object that hasn’t been subjected to all of these sorting processes that people have historically taken…we get something that is, in a sense, raw information.”