2011 - A Gift Fit for a Pope, 1500 Years After Its First Creation

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2011 - A Gift Fit for a Pope, 1500 Years After Its First Creation

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The Staffordshire Hoard was first discovered in the UK in July 2009 by a metal detectorist. The Hoard comprises in excess of 1,600 individual items. Most are gold, some are silver, many are decorated with precious stones; almost all are warlike in nature. The only items that are clearly non-martial are two crosses. The largest may have been an altar or processional cross and other than the loss of the settings used to decorate it, it is intact. However, it has been folded, possibly to make it fit into a smaller space prior to burial. It is this particular cross that is the subject of this paper, which describes the extraordinary journey of this anciently crafted symbol of seventh century religious piety to becoming a twenty-first century gift fit for a Pope. Utilizing the full range of technologies and skills available at the Jewellery Industry Innovation Centre and the multitude of skilled trades found within the square mile of Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter, the paper explores the complexities and collaborations involved in turning this unique, ancient, hand-crafted artifact into a truly remarkable example of the modern goldsmiths' art.

Author: Frank Cooper

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