Top 10 Most Valuable Pieces of Jewellery from Medieval Times

While it is challenging to provide an exact ranking of the most valuable pieces of jewelry from medieval times, here are ten notable examples that hold great historical and artistic significance:

1. The Cullinan Diamond

This diamond, discovered in 1905, is the largest rough gem-quality diamond ever found. It was eventually cut into several magnificent pieces, including the Cullinan I, also known as the Great Star of Africa, which is set in the British Crown Jewels.

2. The Koh-i-Noor Diamond

With a history dating back to medieval times, the Koh-i-Noor Diamond has passed through the hands of various rulers. It currently resides in the Tower of London and is set in the Queen Mother’s Crown.

3. The Crown of Saint Wenceslas

This crown, dating from the 14th century, is one of the most important symbols of Czech royalty. It is adorned with precious gemstones and is a part of the Czech Crown Jewels.

4. The Crown of the Holy Roman Empire

This crown, created in the 10th century, is associated with the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. It is adorned with gemstones and precious metals and is currently housed in the Imperial Treasury in Vienna.

5. The Golden Rose

The Golden Rose is a papal honor that dates back to medieval times. It is a gold rose set with precious gemstones and was traditionally bestowed by the Pope upon individuals or organizations for their exceptional contributions to the Catholic Church.

6. The Armada Necklace

This necklace, created in the late 16th century, is a magnificent piece of jewelry that commemorates the Spanish Armada. It features gold, pearls, and gemstones and is considered a masterpiece of Renaissance jewelry.

7. The Black Prince’s Ruby

This large, deep red spinel gemstone is set in the Imperial State Crown of England. It has a long history and is associated with Edward, Prince of Wales (known as the Black Prince) during the 14th century.

8. The Crown of the Queen of Sweden

This crown, crafted in the 16th century, is one of the few surviving medieval crowns in Europe. It is made of gold and adorned with pearls, gemstones, and enamel work.

9. The Three Brothers Ring

The Three Brothers Ring is an ornate, gold ring from the 14th century. It features three gemstones, including a sapphire, an emerald, and a ruby, and is an outstanding example of medieval jewelry craftsmanship.

10. The Pectoral Cross of Archbishop Egbert

Created in the 8th century, this intricately designed gold and garnet cross is associated with Archbishop Egbert of York. It is considered one of the finest examples of Anglo-Saxon metalwork.

“Medieval jewelry was not merely decorative; it was a symbol of power, status, and spirituality. The intricate craftsmanship and the use of precious materials showcased the wealth and influence of the wearer.”

E. A. Jones, author of “Medieval Jewelry: A Historical Perspective”

These pieces of jewelry not only possess extraordinary material value but also hold immense historical and cultural significance. They represent the exquisite craftsmanship and the opulence of medieval times.

Valuable Jewellery from Medieval Times | Great Books

“Medieval Jewellery: In Europe, 1100-1500” by Marian Campbell
This comprehensive book explores the evolution of medieval jewelry in Europe, discussing its various forms, materials, and symbolic meanings. It showcases a wide range of examples, providing valuable insights into the craftsmanship and significance of medieval adornments.

“Medieval and Renaissance Jewelry: A Collection of Exceptional Jewellery and Works of Art” by Yvonne Hackenbroch
This beautifully illustrated book features a collection of exquisite medieval and Renaissance jewelry. It examines the historical and cultural contexts of these pieces, highlighting their artistic intricacies and the social contexts in which they were worn.

“Jewelry in the Age of Queen Isabella of Hungary” by Gertrud Seidmann
Focusing on a specific period, this book explores the jewelry worn during the reign of Queen Isabella of Hungary (1387-1395). It provides insights into the fashion trends, materials, and craftsmanship of the time, offering a glimpse into the world of medieval royal jewelry.

“Medieval Jewellery: From the Eleventh to the Fifteenth Century” by Rudy van Vossen
This book takes readers on a journey through medieval jewelry, tracing its development from the 11th to the 15th century. It examines different regions and styles, discussing the symbolism, techniques, and materials used in creating these precious adornments.

“Medieval Rings: Dressed to Impress” by Diana Scarisbrick
Focusing specifically on rings, this book explores the significance and symbolism of medieval finger rings. It showcases a wide range of ring designs, from simple bands to elaborate gem-set creations, shedding light on their cultural, religious, and social meanings.

These books offer a wealth of knowledge and visual inspiration for anyone interested in the intricate world of medieval jewelry, providing historical context, detailed analysis, and stunning visuals of these precious adornments.

“Medieval jewelry embodied the essence of the era, reflecting the religious fervor, courtly romance, and the craftsmanship of the period. It served as a form of personal adornment, a display of wealth, and a means of communication.”J

ean Deneuville, historian and author of “Medieval Jewellery in Europe: A Historical Overview”